Rev. Ronald C. Purkey claims no originality for this Bible study outline.
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August 19, 2018
SCRIPTURE: Romans 12: 9-21
KEY VERSE: Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good. (Romans 12:9)
INTRODUCTION: Please notice what the Apostle Paul had to say in the context of Romans chapter 12.
INSIGHT: The apostle begins on the basic assumption that all his listeners have been genuinely born again. But for some reason, known or unknown, there has not been the clear-cut demonstration of the new life in Christ toward God, toward self and others. The amazing fact before us is that the chapter begins with God actually pleading with man rather than commanding him. How gracious and patient is the Lord.
A. The passionate plea of Paul. (Romans 12:1a)
(Romans 12:1a) I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God…
1. In other words the Apostle Paul states: “Therefore, I beg of you, brethren, by the mercies of God that you yield your bodies -- your total personalities -- a living sacrifice, set apart for God, well-pleasing to God.
INSIGHT: “I beg of you” is the language of grace, not law. There is no thunder here from Mount Sinai. Moses commanded; Paul exhorts. Could Paul have commanded? Well, he told Philemon that he could have given him a command, but he didn’t. Paul doesn’t command; he says, “I beg of you.”
2. “By the mercies of God” denoting an abundance of mercy. God is rich in mercy; God has plenty of it. He has plenty of it for you. “Mercy” means compassion, pity, and the tenderness of God. His compassions never fail.
B. The purpose of Paul’s plea. (Romans 12:1b)
(Romans 12:1b) …which is your reasonable service.
By an act of the will we place our total personalities at the disposal of God. He says to yield “your bodies,” your total personalities. The body is the instrument through which we express ourselves. The mind, the affections, the will, and the Holy Spirit can use the body. This is our “reasonable service,” our rational service, and it is well-pleasing to God.
C. The power of the purpose. (Romans 12:2)
(Romans 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.
1. Kenneth S. Wuest has an excellent translation -- actually an interpretation -- of this verse: “And stop assuming an outward expression that does not come from within you and is not representative of what you are in your inner being, but is patterned after this age; but change your outward expression to one that comes from within and is representative of your inner being, by the renewing of your mind, resulting in your putting to the test what is the will of God, the good and well-pleasing, and complete will, and having found that it meets specifications, placing your approval upon it” (Romans in the Greek New Testament, p. 290).
2. Although this is rather elaborate, it is exactly what Paul is saying in this passage of Scripture. Paul is urging the believer not to fashion his life and conduct by those around him, even those in the church.
D. The problem of the proud. (Romans 12:3)
(Romans 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.
What we need to do, as the apostle says here, is “to think soberly.” He says that we ought not try to advance ourselves in Christian circles. There is the ever-present danger of the believer overestimating his ability and his character and his gifts. We need to have a correct estimation of ourselves in relationship to other members of the church.
INSIGHT: The Apostle Paul tells them (and us) that we are part of the body of Christ with a ministry to fulfill, so we are to do our part lovingly and joyfully (see Romans 12:4-8).
(Romans 12:4-8) 4 For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office: 5 So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another. 6 Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith; 7 Or ministry, let us wait on our ministering: or he that teacheth, on teaching; 8 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
I. LOVE IN ACTION. (Romans 12:9-16)
A. Sincere loving shatters hypocrisy. (Romans 12:9a)
(Romans 12:9a) Let love be without dissimulation...
“Let love be without dissimulation” — that is, without hypocrisy. Don’t pat another believer on the back and say something that you don’t mean. Let love be without hypocrisy.
B. Sincere loving shuns evil. (Romans 12:9b)
(Romans 12:9b) …Abhor that which is evil…
“Abhor that which is evil” means to express your hatred of that which is evil. When you find something wrong in the church, bring it to the attention of the proper authorities. If you are on the board and you find things are being done which are not honest, you are to stand up for the truth.
INSIGHT: There are too many Mr. Milquetoasts and Priscilla Good-bodies, these sweet folk who haven’t the intestinal fortitude to stand for that which is honorable. This is the reason many good, fundamental churches are in trouble today. We need men and women with backbone to express their hatred for that which is evil.
C. Sincere loving shares good. (Romans 12:9c-16)
(Romans 12:9c-16) 9c … cleave to that which is good. 10 Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another; 11 Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord; 12 Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer; 13 Distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality. 14 Bless them which persecute you: bless, and curse not. 15 Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep. 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.
“Cleave to that which is good.” Cleave means to stick like adhesive tape, to be welded or cemented together with the good things. The believer should always be identified with good things rather than shady or questionable practices.
II. OVERCOMING EVIL WITH GOOD. (Romans 12:17-21)
A. In relation to honesty. (Romans 12:17)
(Romans 12:17) Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men.
1. “Recompense to no man evil for evil.” The suggestion is that the believer may expect evil at the hands of the world. However, we are not to strike back.
2. “Provide things honest in the sight of all men.” There is nothing that can hurt the cause of Christ more than a dishonest Christian. The non-Christian is not concerned about the doctrine you hold—whether you are a premillennialist or whether you believe in election or free will. However, he does want to know if you are truthful or not, and he does want to know if you pay your honest debts. Are you a person that a man can depend upon? Providing things honest in the sight of all men is a lot better than giving out tracts.
INSIGHT: Some years ago in Memphis, Tennessee, a Christian handed a man a tract. “What is this?” asked the man. The Christian replied, “It is a tract and I want you to read it.” “I don’t read,” the man replied, “but I will tell you what I will do – I will watch your tracks!”
Oh, how accurate that is! The world is watching the tracks that you make, not the tracts you give out. Don’t misunderstand me; giving out gospel tracts is important. But you had better have a life that will back them up when you give out tracts.
B. In relation to peace. (Romans 12:18-20)
(Romans 12:18-20) 18 If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men. 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. 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.
“If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably” -- I love this because there are people that you just cannot get along with; they won’t let you get along with them.
INSIGHT: A dear lady who lived alone, a wonderful Christian, called her pastor one day in deep concern because she had a neighbor whom she couldn’t get along with, and she wondered if he would come and talk with the neighbor. As he was driving out there, he was thinking that since this Christian lady had been living alone, although she was a Christian, she might be a little difficult herself. So he went out and talked to her neighbor.
Well, the neighbor told the pastor what she thought of him as well as this dear Christian lady. The pastor went back to this wonderful Christian lady and said, “I don’t think you need to worry anymore if you can’t get along with her. Nobody can get along with that woman. The Bible says ‘as much as lieth in you’; it doesn’t say you have to get along with her. Just do the best you can.”
C. In relation to evil. (Romans 12:21)
(Romans 12:21) Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.
1. In other words, stop being overcome of evil; overcome evil by means of good. As the believer walks through this evil world with its satanic system, he cannot fight it. If you attempt to fight this satanic system, my friend, it will whip you. You cannot adopt the same worldly tactics of hate and revenge. If you do, you can be assured of defeat.
2. “Overcome evil with good.” God has given the believer the “good,” which is the Holy Spirit. We are to walk in the Spirit. “This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh” (Galatians. 5:16). Paul goes on to say, “If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit” (Galatians 5:25).
By Our Daily Bread
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. – Romans 12:20
INSIGHT: In Romans 12:20 the apostle Paul said that by helping our enemies we heap "coals of fire" on their heads. The Apostle Paul certainly didn't mean that this is a good way to hurt them to get even. He meant that by using kindness we might secure their repentance, thus showing our sincere desire for their eternal good.
· A Christian lady owned two prize chickens that got out of their run and busied themselves in the garden of an ill-tempered neighbor.
The man caught the hens, wrung their necks, and threw them back over the fence. Naturally, the woman was upset, but she didn't get angry and rush over and scream at him. Instead, she took the birds, dressed them out, and prepared two chicken pies. Then she delivered one of the freshly baked pies to the man who had killed her hens. She apologized for not being more careful about keeping her chickens in her own yard.
· Her children, expecting an angry scene, hid behind a bush to see the man’s face and hear what he'd say.
But he was speechless! That chicken pie and apology filled him with a burning sense of shame. But she wasn't trying to get even. Her motive in returning good for evil was to show her neighbor true Christian love, and maybe even bring about a change of heart.
– Adapted from H.V.L., Our Daily Bread, April 15, posted on www.preceptaustin.org
CONCLUSION: What have we learned from Romans chapter 12?
FIRST: We learned that if yours is a godly life, you are bound to have enemies (Matthew 5:10–12; 2 Timothy 3:12); but leave all judgment to the Lord. If you let the Lord have His way, the Lord will use your enemies to build you and make you more like Christ.
SECOND: We learned that we have the opportunity of living a life of godly affection and graciousness which will commend others to Christ and will powerfully bear testimony of the new life in Jesus Christ.
is my heart, Lord Jesus,
I have but one for Thee;
Oh, let my heart be Thine alone,
Thy will be done in me. -- Mick
THOUGHT TO REMEMBER: “We become who God meant us to be by giving ourselves completely to Him.”
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REFERENCES: References used in these Bible studies are the King James Bible (KJV), The Moody Bible Commentary, Dr. J. Vernon McGee © Thru the Bible Radio Network (www.ttb.org), the Scofield Study Bible, the Believer’s Bible Commentary, Dr. Charles J. Woodbridge Bible Outlines, Dr. Lee Roberson’s Sermons, Dr. Charles Stanley: (http://www.intouch.org/), Don Robinson’s Bible Outlines, Women’s Study Bible, The Bible Reader’s Companion Ed. 3, The Nelson Study Bible: New King James Version, KJV Bible Commentary, Wiersbe’s Expository Outlines of the New Testament ed. 4, Dr. David Jeremiah: (http://www.davidjeremiah.org/site/), Dr. Cliff Robinson’s Bible Outlines, Wiersbe’s Expository Outlines of the Old Testament, Dr. Alan Carr’s The Sermon Notebook (www.sermonnotebook.org), With the Word Bible Commentary, Wiersbe’s “Be” Series: Old & New Testaments, RBC Ministries (http://rbc.org/), selected illustrations, and other references.
REV. RONALD PURKEY’S OFFICE
E-mail: Ronald Purkey