The Pursuit Of Righteousness
Romans Chapter 12
As Christians we need to look at ourselves daily. We need to examine our daily walk with the Lord!
Do we truly walk as believers, do we walk as enemies to those around us that are lost.
There are only two choices, we can overcome evil, or we can be overcome by evil.
What is this evil?
Any principle in this present world we live in, that we allow to rule our lives, that are not the principles of God!
1.) When we do not present ourselves to the Lord for His use on a daily basis, we are being overcome by evil.
2.) When we cannot agree to disagree in a wholesome way with all others, we are overcome by evil.
3.) When we cannot go into the world with a sweet spirit, we are overcome by evil.
4.) When we believe we live on a upper level from others, even the lost, we are overcome by evil.
When the apostle Peter preached his first sermon he had these words:
Act 2:38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
Act 2:39 For the promise is unto you, and to your children, [and to all that are afar off], even as many as the Lord our God shall call.
As Christians we must walk as close to Jesus as we possibly can. When we are walking [afar-off] as Peter describes, then we are walking too close to evil.
This is the same way we walked before we were saved!
The safest place for the sheep among wolves, is real close to the shepherd!
These are the words of Jesus:
Mat 7:15 Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.
In other words there are many false prophets [that will keep us at a far distance from Jesus], if we allow it to happen.
Jesus also said:
Mat 10:16 Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: [be ye therefore wise] as serpents, and harmless as doves.
In other words, We need special training to walk amongst the evil in this world!
These that Jesus was talking to were the disciples that He was personally training every day.
Rom 12:1 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.
Rom 12:2 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.
We must translate what we learn as Christians into the way we live and show in our daily lives that we truly trust God’s word.
It should be noticeable to the world that we have a relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. If we have the right relationship with God we will have the right relationship with the people that God allows to cross our paths.
We think of God as a God who gives commands, yet in this first verse we see the word “beseech”.
“Beseech” is not a word that commands but it is a word that implores, that exhort, and gives the sense that Our Lord is praying for our success. In fact God is almost begging us to give ourselves to Him for His use.
Being used of God at His will, is the safest place for us to be!
God wants us to succeed!
God is not training us to fail!
God’s purpose will not allow for failure!
God gives us the three steps that each Christian should take:
1.) God asks for our bodies.
Before we trusted in Christ we used our bodies for sinful pleasures and purposes. But!, Now that we are saved by Him we need to use our bodies for His purpose and for His glory.
Our body is His Temple:
1Co 6:19 What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?
1Co 6:20 For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.
God gives us this great privilege to glorify Christ:(and it is a privilege to serve Our Lord)
The Apostle Paul put it like this:
Php 1:20 According to my earnest expectation and my hope, that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but that with all boldness, as always, [so now also Christ shall be magnified in my body], whether it be by life, or by death.
Php 1:21 For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.
a.) We, as believers, are chosen:
Eph 1:4 According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:
b.) We as believers are selected as His favorites out of many who are called:
Mat 22:14 For many are called, [but few are chosen].
Joh 15:19 If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, [but I have chosen you out of the world], therefore the world hateth you.
c.) We as believers, are God’s children:
Eph 1:5 Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,
d.) We as believers,are accepted:
Eph 1:6 To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.
e.) We as believers, are a forgiven people:
Eph 1:7 In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;
It is a great privileged to be one of God’s children!
*****We know that the God Almighty poured Himself into a fleshy body that we know as Jesus. He did this to accomplish his will on this Earth.
It is truly our privilege to give our bodies to continue in the work that Jesus started!
There are two living sacrifices in the Bible and they help us to understand what this means:
A.) In Genesis 22 we know that Isaac willingly put himself on the altar as a sacrifice. He would have died if that had been God’s will but God sent a RAM to take his place.
What we don’t seem to realize is that Isaac had to die of his own will in order to give into his fathers will. Isaac willingly gave his body to his father Abraham knowing it was he that was to be the sacrifice.
When Isaac climbed off that altar he was a “living sacrifice”!
B.) The greatest example of all is our Lord Jesus Christ who is the perfect “living sacrifice”.
Jesus actually died as a sacrifice in order to fulfill his Father’s will. BUT! Jesus rose again from that grave to be in Heaven as our “living sacrifice”.
To be a “living sacrifice” means we will live eternally with our Father in Heaven!
Heb 4:14 Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession.
1Jn 2:1 My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous:
2.) God ask for our minds:
Satan uses the things of this world to try to control our minds. God knows this and through Jesus will renew our minds.
Eph 4:17 This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind,
Eph 4:23 And [be renewed in the spirit of your mind];
Eph 4:24 And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.
Col 3:1 If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God.
Col 3:10 And have put on the new man, [which is renewed in knowledge] after the image of him that created him:
As the world tries to control our minds from the outside, the Holy Spirit that lives in us after we are saved tries to control our minds from the inside.
And, God uses His Written Word to transform our minds!
We do wrong when we ignore God’s Word! That Bible we have will not do us any good if we never turn the pages.
2Co 3:18 But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, [are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord].
3.) God asks for our will:
We have a body and our mind controls our body but it is “our will” that controls our mind!
We will fail if we try “under our own willpower” to control our bodies!
It is only when we yield to God’s “will” that His Power can take over!
A.) We must be sincere and fervent, in our prayer life!
B.) We must take everything before the Lord and “let God have His will” in everything we do!
Joh 15:5 I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: [for without me ye can do nothing].
C.) We must especially pray for those things that worry and bother us!
We must begin each day yielding our bodies, our minds and our wills to God and His purpose.
Rom 12:3 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.
Rom 12:4 For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office:
Rom 12:5 So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.
We can see that the Apostle Paul was writing to Christians who were members of local churches.
It is not hard to see the references to the church, “body of Christ”.
We know that each believer is a living part of this body. Each one of us have a place to serve. The Holy Spirit has made sure that each of us have the right gifts needed to fulfill our purpose.
We can also readily see “that we belong to each other as much as we belong to the body of Christ”, the church of the living God.
Paul points out some essential things for our ministry.
1.) We absolutely cannot think that our place in the church is exalted above any of the others in the church.
We must have a humble attitude toward each of our brothers and sisters in Christ.
2.) We must be of a sound mind and moderate in our thinking,.
This is what the word “soberly” means!
It is God that provides our measure of faith.
And our measure of faith, directly relates to the gifts we receive of the Holy Spirit:
The Bible says:
1Co 12:7 But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal.
1Co 12:8 For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit;
1Co 12:9 To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit;
1Co 12:10 To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues:
1Co 12:11 But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will.
It is the Holy Spirit that provides the tools each one of us need to fulfill our purpose in the church!
These gifts are given individually but, “they are for the benefit of the entire congregation”!
3.) We must not think that we are the only ones that can perform the work of Christ.
When we surrender to the Lord we then need to just get out of His way “and be that tool in His hand”.
Any believer that takes on a ministry that the Holy Spirit has “not” equipped them to do, can cause damage to the church.
But, Any believer that refuses to do a ministry that the Holy Spirit “has” equipped them to do, can hinder the growth of the church.
We can see that both of these type believers have the wrong attitude about serving!
Any gift we have is because of God’s grace. They are to be used “according to the gift of faith”.
Since our gifts are from God, we certainly cannot take credit for them in any way!
It is in the best interest of the church that we accept any gift of the Holy Spirit and use those gifts to honor the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Paul wrote of himself:
1Co 15:10 But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.
We can read in the Old Testament that when Solomon built the Temple that the stones that were used were so finely chiseled that they fit together without mortar.
The apostle Peter wrote:
1Pe 2:5 Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.
We should also be so finely chiseled that we join to each other without any friction and without any strife and without any gaps!
There are no unimportant jobs in the house of God and there is no job more important than any of the others.
Spiritual gifts are tools, that in the hand of God can build the church. These gifts are not toys to play with and they are not weapons to fight with.
These gifts when used improperly can destroy the church which God will not allow!
We cannot use the “gifts” of the Holy Spirit without the use of the “fruit” of the Holy Spirit!
And the fruit of the Spirit is:
Gal 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
Gal 5:23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
Eph 5:9 (For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;)
Eph 5:10 Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord.
If it is not acceptable to the Lord, IT IS NOT FOR CHURCH USE!
Rom 12:9 Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good.
Rom 12:10 Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another;
Rom 12:11 Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord;
Rom 12:12 Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer;
Rom 12:13 Distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality.
Rom 12:14 Bless them which persecute you: bless, and curse not.
Rom 12:15 Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep.
Rom 12:16 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.
The apostle Paul teaches us that without charity, and charitable giving and a forgiving love, then we are not using the gifts God gave us in a spiritual manner.
1Co 13:2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.
1Co 13:13 And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.
Love is a fruit of the Holy Spirit, which allows all members to work together in a healthy way.
This must be honest love, not a hypocritical love nor any lustful thing. To lust is to desire, or to covet!
Our love must be a humble love and not full of self pride.
“preferring one another” really means treating others as they are more important than ourselves.!
Php 2:3 Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.
Php 2:4 Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.
There should be little doubt that there will be many days that Satan will oppose us and try to discourage us.
But, If we can remember the one main thing, that we are serving the Lord and not man!
We must not only share the blessings of our brothers and sisters, but we should also share the burdens of our brothers and sisters.
In this way we can all grow together!
Rom 12:17 Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men.
Rom 12:18 If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.
Rom 12:19 Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.
Rom 12:20 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.
Rom 12:21 Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.
What we find here, is that as we try to live our lives as the Lord Jesus did, we will see, that just as Jesus had enemies, we also will have enemies.
There will always be those that oppose the work of Jesus Christ!
We know that opposition to the work of the Lord is growing in our day.
In fact Jesus said some of our worst enemies would come from our own homes, our own families.
Mat 10:36 And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household.
To be truthful, we are sometimes the very reason people hate us. We sometimes forget the love that Christ had for us and don’t share that love with those around us.
This is a sad thing!
We are washed in the blood of Jesus and some refer to this as a bloody religion but, this is the truth of the gospel.
But, There is still a difference in sharing the offence of the cross, and being an offensive Christian.
As Christians we cannot play God, we cannot return evil for evil. We must not only return good for good but also Good For Evil!
We cannot do this if we do not have the love of God in us!
We cannot do this if we have not based our lives on “faith in the work of Jesus Christ” on that cross.
We cannot do this if we are not trying to accomplish the will of God for our own lives, even to those that cause us harm.
This does not mean that we should allow this world to walk all over us!
We must remember that it is the Lord that will defend us and we should leave things in His hands.
We must also remember that these very things is what Jesus taught us that would lead us to perfection.
Mat 5:44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;
Mat 5:45 That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.
Mat 5:46 For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same?
Mat 5:47 And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so?
Mat 5:48 Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.
There is no doubt that this is difficult to practice in our daily lives.
It is hard to show kindness to an enemy that hates you knowing, that they would take advantage of this.
Our job is still to obey and leave all the results to the Lord!
Many of our enemies will feel shame for hating us for no reason.
*****These are the ones that the Lord is trying to reach!
The only way to overcome evil is with good.
And, Our greatest witness is the life we lead in the Lord!
1Pe 2:12 Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation.
To the evil in this world, it is the Christian Church that is the enemy.
We, of the Body of Christ, are the only ones that can show the world that this is not true.
WE ARE NOT THEIR ENEMIES BUT THEIR TRUE FRIENDS!
If we cannot do this then we have not submitted ourselves to the will of God.
These words of the Book of Romans are just as much a part of the Bible as those about salvation!
If we cannot do this then we have conformed ourselves to be like those of this world!
But, since we are God’s Children, it will show that we are identified with Jesus.
Remember, we are chosen, predestined, accepted, redeemed, forgiven, and a holy people!
When we are truly conformed to the image of Jesus, we are a mighty weapon in the Hands of God!