Present Your Body a Living Sacrifice to God - Romans 12-13, Episode 19

By Michael Pearl

Scripture: Topics: Romans Bible Study

Save for Later

Present Your Body  a Living Sacrifice to God

Romans Chapters 12-13

The Book of Romans, chapter 12 and 13. We're in episode 19, going through the Book of Romans.

Understanding the Bible

Now, this is a Bible study. This is not designed to be inspirational or motivational. This is instructional. This is about understanding. This is understanding the Bible. That's what we're doing tonight. So, we're going to be studying the word of God at The Door in Lobelville, Tennessee., you can find us. We're also on YouTube. You can find all these messages located on YouTube.

Rightly dividing the word of truth

So, The word of God's going to be our guide. It says, "Study to show thyself approved under God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth." 2 Timothy 2:15  And so, we're going to divide the words of truth tonight, so that we can understand what God's saying.

Romans chapter 12

We're going to be opening the King James Bible, the authorized version, Romans chapter 12, verse one. Now, here's a verse that most Christians can quote. I probably heard at least 50 to 100 sermons on this one verse right here during my lifetime.

Romans 12:1 "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service."  Now, this verse is probably misunderstood more times than it's understood. Notice the word, "Therefore", in the passage, "I beseech you therefore." Now, he's pointing backward to something, something that he's already said, which is in chapter 11 and we studied last week.

Mercy upon all

So we turned back to 11, the latter part. He says, Romans 11:30-32 "For as ye in times past have not believed, yet now have obtained mercy through their unbelief. Even so have these also now not believed, that through your mercy they may also obtain mercy. For God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all."  So, the context of the latter part of the chapter, the verses immediately before this passage tonight in 12:1, talked about the gentiles, obtaining the mercy of God in place of Israel, who the natural branches had been broken off and cast aside.  So God took the wild olive branches from a wild olive tree, which is the church and grafted them in contrary to nature, so that the church found mercy at Israel's loss.

So he says, "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God."  And that's the reason he used the word mercy. "I beseech you by the mercies."

That is because, you as a church, as gentiles, have received these mercies, when at one time, you remember last week, you were not my people. He said, "I will call those, which are not my people, my people." (Romans 9:25, Deuteronomy 32:21) And those that were despised, he will call beloved.

What does it mean to “present your bodies a living sacrifice”?

So, present your bodies,”  by the mercy of God, “present your bodies a living sacrifice.”

This word present means that you have something to do, that it's a free will act, a free will offering. There's shades of the old Testament sacrifices here. That's the background of what he's saying here. Just as in the old Testament, they presented animals as a sacrifice. Now, I want you to present your bodies as a sacrifice, but it's a not a dead sacrifice. It's a living sacrifice.

A living sacrifice

Now, a dead sacrifice loses its pleasure in life. A dead sacrifice loses its contact with life. A dead sacrifice loses everything. It ceases to relate to the world in which it lived. A living sacrifice, likewise, is called upon to mortify, to experience some kind of death, some kind of loss, that is to dedicate itself to something different, something new, something other.

“To present your body, a living sacrifice, holy, God wants our bodies to be holy. It's a sacrifice to be holy sometimes. And so he calls on us to make that sacrifice. “acceptable unto God,”  In the old Testament, the sacrifice had to be acceptable, had to be approved. God wants us to be without spot and blemish to become acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. The word service is used throughout the old Testament scripture in reference to the activity in the temple. The priest were involved in service. They served God as they offered the sacrifices and took him into the holy holies. So, “present your body living sacrifice, which is a reasonable service.”

Reasonable service

Now, why does he say it's reasonable? You see, the word reasonable means that according to reason, this would be what would occur, that it is consistent with reason. It'd be unreasonable to do otherwise. You see, since you and I were not his people, and now he's made us his people and we've entered into this life of mercy, it's reasonable that we should turn around and sacrifice ourselves to be holy, to be acceptable unto God. It's our reasonable service. Not asking anything extraordinary.

When God asks you to be pure and holy in heart and mind, that's not unreasonable. When he asked you to sin not, that's not unreasonable. When he asked you to go and take the gospel to a people in a foreign land where you may die, that's not unreasonable.

When he asked you to confess faith in Jesus Christ when they got the guns to your head or the match to go to the fire and you confess Jesus Christ, that's not unreasonable. Having experienced the mercy of God, having been born again, once alienated and enemies in our minds, it's reasonable. Some people say it's unreasonable that God should ask me to dress modestly. It's unreasonable that God should ask me to abstain from certain pleasures. It's unreasonable that he should ask me to be holy in mind in heart. No, he said, this is your reasonable service.

Accounted as sheep for the slaughter

Now, we go back. He says, in chapter eight, we read previously, Romans 8:36“As it is written, For thy sake, we are killed all the day long. We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter."  That's what the Christians were in that day, living under persecution. They were killed all the day long. In other words, at every moment, there was a risk of them dying, and they were valued by the Romans and by the Jews as nothing more than sheep prepared for the slaughter. But when the world would slaughter the sheep, God saw the sheep as a sacrifice that was well pleasing in his sight. Nay, in all things we're more than conquerors.

Be Not Conformed to this World

"A living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world, but be transformed."  Notice the word play. Not conform. To conform is to press it into a mold and make it fit.

Now, the world is always trying to conform us. Even the politicians are trying to conform Christians and conservatives to the world's view. Everything about this world is seeking to press us into a mold and make us different from what God would have us to be. All the clothes makers, all the advertisers, all the movie makers, they're all attempting to conform us into the image of the world.

Be Transformed by the Renewing of your Mind

Romans 12:2 "Be not conformed to this world, but be you transformed."  Trans is to cross over. It's to leap over. It's to go beyond. It's to travel. "Transformed by the renewing of your mind that you may prove what is that good, acceptable, and perfect will of God."  Now, what does this “be not conformed, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind”? You see our mind is set on ungodly things and worldly things, and self basically.

So, we need a renewed mind. Ephesians 4:21-24 says, "You've heard that you put off concerning the former conversation, the old man, which is corrupt according deceitful lust, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind."  So God's not just looking for us just to become educated or learn how we should live as a Christian. He's wanting our mind to be controlled by the spirit of God, so that we're ruled by a different spirit, instead of just human reason. ”And that ye put on the new man, which after God has created righteousness and true holiness,”

Prove the perfect will of God

Romans 12:2  "that you may prove what is good and acceptable and perfect will of God."  Now, that's a strange way of saying it, they may prove. Who are we going to prove it to? Who needs the proof? Who's looking for the proof? What's the point in proving it, prove it to God, prove it to ourself, prove it to what?

Well, if you're remember, our context immediately before this, it was all about provoking Israel to jealousy. Do you remember that? And Paul said that his desire was that through the church, conforming to the image of Christ, that Israel would be provoked to be jealous of the heights to which the church would rise. And so what Paul is calling on us to do is to avail ourselves of this mercy that we've been brought into so that we can prove the blessings, the benefits of Christ, that you may “prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”  Now, this plays back.

 Notice I've highlighted here, "Present your body's a living sacrifice, holy."  That corresponds to that which is good. "Acceptable unto God." That corresponds to acceptable. And reasonable service corresponds to the perfect will of God. So, it's the same three things stated a little differently. Present your body that those three things might occur, be transformed that you may prove what is that good, holy, acceptable under God and perfect reasonable service, perfect will of God.

Understanding one's position in the body of Christ

So, understanding one's position in the body of Christ is what the rest of this chapter is about. It's not profound. This is not doctrinally deep. In fact, the rest of this chapter in the following chapter have a hundred good sermons in them, which I'm not going to try to share tonight. They're sermons for pastors to preach. They're sermons for those with exhortation in their heart to preach. It's stuff that the church needs, but we're not going to labor on it. We're going to move through it, mainly because I love doctrinal issues. I love thorny issues. I love the things that are complex. And it would take us a hundred sermons to go through it all as it deserves, which we won't take the time to do, but we're going to cover it briefly.

Don't be high minded

Romans 12:3 "For I say, through the grace, given unto me, to every man that is among you,"  so he's talking to the church there, "not to think of himself more highly than he ought."  Now, the reason he's saying this is because the church there in Rome was in danger of thinking more highly than it ought. Now this, again, is reflecting back. Paul is kind of phasing out his former thoughts and moving into a new field. And do you remember? He said formerly that there was a danger there of the church boasting itself against the natural branches and thinking that it had something special. He said, "You stand by faith."

To every Man the Measure of Faith

So he said, Don't be high minded, not think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God has dealt to every man the measure of faith."  So, each person has a measure of faith. And he said we should think in terms of that faith that God has given us. Look at it. God has dealt to every man, the measure of faith. That's not the same amount.

Practical Exhortation to the Gentile Church

How Should Christians Live?

You'll see. So, here's some practical exhortation to the Gentile church.

Romans 12:4 "For as we have many members in one body,"  just like I have eyes, ears, tongue, nose, feet, all these are members of the body, talks about that in Corinthians quite a bit, "many members in one body, and all members have not the same office."  1 Corinthians 13, 14, 15, speak of the tongue being a little member in the eye and the finger in the hand, and all these parts working together.

"Have many members in one body and all members have not the same office."  In other words, my hand doesn't do what my ear does, and my nose does do what my feet do. It runs, but that's the only two members that do something similarly.

We, Being Many, are One Body

"We have many members in one body and all members have not the same office. So, we, being many, are one body."  So, he's saying you are part of Christ's body, his church, and you're each different. You don't have the same gifts, same abilities. You're each different, but we're all one body working and functioning together in Christ, “and every one members one of another." Now, the reason he says one of another is because that finger would be useless without the hand, and the hand would be useless without the arm, and so forth. So, each member is dependent upon the other members.So, all these little members come together to form the body of Christ.

But we have Different Gifts

"In Christ, and everyone members one of another. Having then gifts differing." So, what he's going to talk about are these gifts of faith, this measure faith that he gave. "Gifts differing, according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith."  Do you see that there are different proportions of faith? Not all have the same faith. And so he said, when one prophesies, they should do it in proportion to their faith. That means you may have one prophet who's extremely gifted and just be able to foretell the future, and I've read many such prophets. And then there are others who may have a lot more limited prophetic gifts. And then there are a number of people who have small prophetic gifts in terms of dreams that they have and future predictions that God has, or exhortations that he gives them through dreams.

Lying Prophets

Others have extreme visions and extraordinary prophetic gifts. So one of the problems we have in the church are there are prophets who get little prophetic gifts. They have a little faith in that way, and they have a little success in making their prophecies. And they get carried away. And so they start trying to prophesy beyond their faith, beyond their gifts and end up being liars. I've seen a lot of lying prophets, who started off sincere, but it felt so good to have that prophetic ability that they just started looking for it all the time. And other people started looking to them, and they got elevated in their station as a prophet. And so they started looking at the local news to try to figure out what Donald Trump or Bill Clinton or somebody else was going to do, and started making prophecies about Iran and Iraq and the war situation. And they end up being liars. Out of a thousand prophets, one or two of them will be right about some little things like that, but so many of them are so wrong.  And so it discredits the very gift itself that God gives and makes us want to shy away from it, where it's a needed gift, the gift of prophecy. Do it according to the proportion of faith. So this is good exhortation for the chruch. You could do a lot of preaching on that long sermon.

According to the portion of faith

Now he said, "God dealt to every man the measure of faith."  Let's go back to that passage. "Let us prophesy according to the portion of faith." Going back to verse three, "God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith."  So the gifts of prophecy come in degrees, as God has dealt a measure of faith.

The gifts of prophecy come in degrees, as God has dealt a measure of faith.

 You see, you cannot make yourself have more prophetic faith.

God gave it to you, and that's what you got. You can't run out and pray and get more prophetic faith and be a better prophet.

The Gift of Ministry

"Whether prophecy let us prophesy according the proportion of faith. Or ministry let us wait on our ministering."  Now, this word wait is not like standing on the street corner, waiting on the bus to come, or getting in the car and waiting on your wife to get the 12 kids dressed so you can go somewhere. That's not the kind of waiting he's talking about. This word wait is more like a waiter waits. That is you're attentive, you're ready to go, you're on the spot, you're jolly, ready to act. And you're standing there in uniform, waiting on your ministering. That means that you're engaged in ministering, not that you're tarrying and waiting to minister sometime later.

The Gift of Teaching

"Or he that teacheth, on teaching."  He's not saying get in your closet and wait until it hits you, and I got it now, and you go out and teach. He's saying give attendance to teaching, give attendance to ministry, as a waiter in a restaurant waits on their customers.

The Gift of Exhortation

 "Or he that exhorteth, on exhortation."  So, teaching and exhortation. These are both critical. I'm not much of an exhorter. I'm more of a teacher, and they're important gifts of exhortation. And some pastors, that's about all they do is exhort. And so you may hear me and say, "Why doesn't my pastor teach that way?" Because we have gifts that differ, and the body is not all alike. And I am very narrow in what I do. And others may be equally narrow, and that makes us quite different, but we're both essential and necessary in the body of Christ, along with a hundred other gifts.

Give with Simplicity

"He that giveth, let him do it with simplicity."  This is really profound. He's kind of making fun of us here.There's stuff in here I can use that's directed at me.

"He, that giveth, let him do it with simplicity."  Have you ever seen someone who's a big giver, but they make a show of it, they're kind of dramatic about it? And they give, and you can see they're feeling real good about doing it. And they're just all swollen up because they're giving, and there's an excitement with them. He said don't do that. Make it simple. Make it quick, make it simple, make it a passing thing. Don't let your left hand know what your right hand's doing when you give. You say, "Well, that wouldn't be much fun." Well, it's not about you. You're giving, not receiving. When you're giving an act of receiving because it makes you feel good, then you are doing harm to the person you're giving to.You're humiliating them. You're embarrassing them. You're making them uncomfortable. So, give with simplicity.

Rule with Diligence

"He that ruleth, with diligence."  That means there are those in the church that are appointed to rule. Now, that's not a dictatorial rule, but they are appointed to oversee, and they're called overseers or elders or bishops. They're appointed by the holy spirit, through the body of Christ, and their role is to rule. And so they should do it diligently.

Show Mercy with Cheerfulness

"And he that showeth mercy, with cheerfulness."  Now, again here, Paul's obviously stood around and watched people at church a whole lot. Have you ever seen someone showing mercy, and they don't do it with cheerfulness. They do it with this deep longing, yearning, sadness, pulling the emotion out of the person that they're showing mercy to. And they want to cry. They want a hug.And they're showing mercy, but the mercy really again is about them just kind of bonding with this hurting person, and it makes them feel so good. That really bothers me. It obviously bothered apostle Paul too. And so he said when you show mercy, just be cheerful about it. Don't don't make a big deal out of it. Make it quick and happy and passing and just show mercy. Don't iron the person out with your active mercy. Don't try to make bare their soul. Hey, preachers. Now, you can get some good sermons out of this. You're free to use my illustrations, but I don't get a salary, so you might have trouble in the church with that.

Love Sincerely

Romans 12:9 “Let love be without dissimulation.”  Now, this word dissimulation means hidden, secret hypocritical. Having an undercurrent and undertone, another motive, a different feeling, hidden secret feelings. "Let love be without dissimulation."  In other words, when you love, let it be pure from the heart, not fake and not with something in reserve.

Hate Evil

"Abhor that which is evil." There's a place for Christians to hate and to abhor. "Abhor that which is evil."  Now, it's easy for us to abhor something evil we see in the news, or something evil that we see taking place in the local community or the newspaper, or see walking down the road, but what about abhorring that which is evil in our own lives. That's where the rubber meets the road. That's where it comes home, and that's where we need to give the most attention.

"Abhor that which is evil, and cleave."  That's the same word as cleave to your wife, cleave to your husband, the same word as cleave to God, cleave to the Lord God, "Cleave to that which is good."  Now, that cleaving is really cutting into and hanging on tightly. It's merging with.

Be Kind and Honor One Another

Romans 12:10 "Be kindly affectioned,"  kind in our affections, "one to another with brotherly love."  You can see Paul is thinking, if we could get the Gentile church to do this, Israel would get converted real quick. If the Gentile church was like this, they would be provoked to jealousy in a hurry.  “Be kindly affectioned one to another with brother to love, in honor preferring one another.” That means that we honor our brothers and sisters in Christ, and prefer them. That is, we put them first. We promote them ahead of ourselves. I'm wondering where the church is.

Not slothful in business

Romans 12:11 "Preferring one another, not slothful in business."  There's a lot of lazy slothful people in business. "Fervent in spirit."  So, he's still talking about business. Not slothful in business, but rather fervent in spirit, whatever your job is, your spirit needs to be involved in your job. You need to be excited and have an input of your spirit into what you're doing, and be fervent with it.  "Serving the Lord."  When we work, it's God we're serving, not just our employer. So, fervent in spirit, serving Lord.

Romans 12:12 "Rejoicing in hope."  That is an anticipation of the fullness of our resurrection in Christ, rejoice in it. “Be patient in tribulation.”  We talked about that already. That means endure, endure those hardships that come up upon us. "continuing instant in prayer." 

Instant in prayer

Now, that word instant in prayer means that we should pray instantaneously, not wait till tonight to pray, but pray right now. Pray without ceasing.

That is, we should pray throughout the day as God speaks to us. We can talk to him about the beautiful day. We can talk to him about the needs of a grandkid or of the church, or of something happening in political arenas. There's all kinds of things we can pray about, but "continue instant in prayer;”

Care for the needs of others

Romans 12:13 “Distributing to the necessity of saints."  So, we should look around. And when we see other saints who have a need, when we see that there's something we can bless them with, we should distribute it to them. There's so many things you can do to bless people, especially older people. Here, you see younger couples coming along, and they are just trying to get started in life. And quite often, they're poorer and they have needs. And so when you see those needs, you can help them out.

It can be simple things like, I don't know, hauling them a lot to firewood or getting them started an organic garden by bringing them a load of manure, or it could be killing a cow and sending them over 20 pounds of meat. It can be a number of things that you do to just help people that have needs. Sometimes it's families that are big, and they got so many kids. The old lady lives in the shoe or something like that, I remember. And so you won't give them a new polishing, help them out in any way you can. "Distributing to the necessity of the saints."  You don't just wait until somebody's poverty's stricken, but you look around and you see what the needs people have. You go to an auction and you buy 16 doors, and you only need seven of them.

Wait until somebody's building a house that's having a trouble paying for doors and give them the doors. That's how you distribute to the necessity of the saints. And so it should be a way of life. Christians should be generous in what they do.

Be Hospitable

Then he says, "Given to hospitality."  Now, hospitality is making your home a hospital for people, a place where you can minister to people. That doesn't mean that you have to spend your time with people who just want a party, doesn't mean you have to open up your house and let it be a social club. But when there are people with needs or people that you can bless or encourage, you open your home to them, “given to hospitality. “

How should Christians Respond to Persecution?

Romans 12:14 "Bless them which persecute you." And that's difficult. "Bless them which persecute you." They persecute you, and you say, "God's blessings on you." You say, "How could I do that? They don't need any blessings." He says bless them.

"Bless and curse not." Now, of course being fine Christians, we don't curse, but we can think of other... We can think of thoughts that if you were to put it to words would probably be cursing. So he says don't curse your enemies, those who persecute you, but bless them.

How should Christians Treat Others?

Romans 12:15 "Rejoice with them that do rejoice."  If you see somebody celebrating something happen, then celebrate with them, and weep with them that weep. That's difficult for me. But when someone is sad and broken hearted and life has got them down, that's not the time for you to be cheerful. It's the time for you to weep with them and share with them what's troubling them.

Romans 12:16 "Be of the same mind one toward another."  There shouldn't be division in the church. Where is the church? "Be of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high things." That is, don't be uppity. That's the best way we can say it for down south here. Don't be uppity.

How should Christians Treat Sinners?

Romans 12:16 "Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate."  That is when someone comes in that's of low estate. That is, they walk in, say here at the door, and young woman, 22, 25 years old, and her front teeth are all rotted from meth and she's all tattooed up and her hair is ratty, and she's got on some short shorts and a halter top. And she just put her cigarette out just before she came through the door. And she comes in and sets down. You say, "Well, she sure is a low estate." Yeah, she is. He said, "Condescend to her." What does that mean? That means sit down beside her. Talk to her. Don't tell her how bad she is.

Sit down beside her and ask her how her day went. Sit down beside her and ask her what her dog's name is. Sit down beside her and ask if her parents are still alive. Sit down beside her and ask her what her needs are, how's life treating her. And give her a chance to share with you what's going on in her heart. "Condescend to men of low estate."

And then he says, "Be not wise in your own conceits."  That's stupid. If you're conceited and you call that wisdom, that's kind of a backward way of getting smart. In other words, you're so dumb that you're conceited. And so the conceits tell you're wise, and that's a backwards way of getting wisdom. Be not wise in your own conceits.  That's self explanatory.

Should we Repay Evil for Evil?

Romans 12:16"Recompensed to no man evil for evil."  Well, seems like if they're going to do you evil, you ought do them evil, right? And he said, "Don't do it. Don't do it."

Be Honest

"Provide things honest in the sight of all men."  Everything we do ought to be honest and forthright and out front, and people ought to be able to see it, that's it honest.

Live Peaceably with all Men

"If it be possible..."  So, he recognizes life as it is. "If it be possible, as much as lieth in you,"  again, he recognizes the limitations of human flesh, "live peaceably with all men."  So, Jesus didn't live peaceably with all men. They crucified him, right? They tried to throw him off a cliff. I mean, he didn't live peaceably with all men, but as much as possible, as much as lieth within you, as much as you can, live peaceably with all men. There come times when someone will not make peace with you, but do everything you can. Don't provoke. it. Don't seek retribution.

Avenge not yourselves

Now, all these things, I just read brought something to my mind. Romans 12:16 "Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath, for it is written. Vengeance is mine. I will repay saith the Lord."  

You know where the... There's a valve today where the human heart is opened, and honesty flows out and goes on display. It's social media. It's a place where the inhibitions come down and people reveal who they really are. And it's sometimes really ugly. People that I know, people that I have been friends with, and I don't read social media, but Deb will read me something sometime, and I am shocked at some of the things people say. They would never dare say those things in public. They would look ashamed and embarrassed and humiliated, but they'll get online and say it.

Where the Christians are on the Social Media?

  • Mind not high things. Condescend to men of low estate.  How many times on the media do you see people running somebody down and degrading somebody for being stupid or being wrong? If you read articles, news articles, and people respond to the news articles, you think the country is full of idiots, man, blathering, idiots, the stupid that they write. I mean, it's just beyond comprehension that people are that mean that onery, that selfish, that hateful, that crude, that their thoughts are like that.
  • Bless them which persecute you. Is that what people do on social media? Do they bless those that persecute them?
  • Be not wise in your own conceits. People think they know what's right. They know the truth of things, and they lambast others. "Wise in their own conceits.”
  • Recompense no man evil for evil.
  • Live peaceably with all men. Social media bears out.
  • Overcome evil with good. How many times on social media do you see somebody using love and mercy and goodness to overcome evil? Do they just back off and go silent rather than condescend?
  • "Pray for them which despitefully use you."

Wonder where the Christians are on the social media? I wonder where they are speaking up? And do people look and see the difference. Do they know what it is? Why aren't professing Christians embarrassed on social media to say the things they say? Do they have an example that would be different, that would be contrasted to that?

Okay. Back to our texts.

Give place unto wrath

Romans 12:19 "Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath."  Now, the passage recognizes we're going to have a mental state of wrath occasionally. Be said, give place to it. What does that mean? That means that park it somewhere. Don't employ it. Don't use it. Set it aside.

"Give place unto wrath, for it is written. Vengeance is mine; I'll repay sayith the Lord."  That's not that wrath is inappropriate. There are times it's very appropriate. There's times that God is mad, you're mad, and anybody that knows about it is mad. They ought to be. It's disgusting, it's wicked, it's evil, and it provokes anger in everybody. But he says, "Don't give place to it. Set it aside."

Because God is mad too, and he is going to execute vengeance. So, he doesn't want double jeopardy. That's his job. You stay out of his way. Don't go punishing the person before time. God will get him in the day of judgment.

Romans 12:20 "Vengeance is mine; I will repay saith the Lord. 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."  Now, that's not saying that you're going to make him feel miserable because you give him something to eat and drink. It's saying that you in your Christian responses are doing what you ought to do, and it's going to come down on him in the day of judgment. God executes the vengeance.

Romans 12:21 "Be not overcome of evil."  So many times when really evil things happen to good people and the good people respond in an evil way, and they're overcome of the evil, but rather overcome evil with good.

Romans Chapter 13

There is no Power, but of God

Now, here's chapter 13. "Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers," talking about government, "for there's no power, but of God."  That's a strong statement. That means that every president this United States has ever had was a power God ordained.

Does God ordain Evil Rulers?

Romans 13:1 “the powers that be are ordained of God.”  That means that the heads of Russia and China and North Korea are ordained of God. Why? Because God appointed that office to be ruler over the people.

You say, "But how could God be ordaining the head of North Korea?" God had Pharaoh over Egypt. And you say, "How could he do that?" The evil that Pharaoh worked killing babies, how could God ordain Pharaoh? The Bible said God raised him up. Do you remember that? God raised him up. God raised him up, he said, to show his wrath and his mercy. He showed his wrath in the judgment upon Pharaoh and his children, and he showed his mercy up on the children of Israel.

So, God can raise up kings for reasons other than making us live peaceably. He can raise up tyrants and dictators to judge us, to persecute us, to kill us, that grace might shine forth through all that darkness. So, sometimes the dark backdrop is the place that God manifests his saints.

Should Christians submit to the King?

Romans 13:2 "Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God. And they that resists shall receive to themselves damnation."  That's not hell. That's not God judging them. That's the rulers judging them. You'll see that in the context. They that resist shall receive to themselves damnation.

Romans 13:3-4 "For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Will thou then not be afraid of the power? Do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same."  Now, I can think of a lot of times when doing what the government tells you to do is not doing good. And you don't get praise when you do what you ought to do.

There's governments that punish you for doing what ought to do. For instance, they will kill Christians in Saudi Arabia or Iraq or Afghanistan for worshiping God, or Yemen or different places. You can be put to death. And sometimes the government consents unto the death of Christians. "Do that which is good, thou shalt have praise to the same. For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid, for he beareth not the sword in vain, for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil.”

Should Christians Pay Taxes?

Romans 13:5 “Wherefore, ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath,"  Fear the wrath of the king, "but also for conscience sake. For this very cause pay ye tribute also, for they are God's ministers,"  That means the IRS is God's ministers. "attending continually upon this very thing. Render therefore to all their dues, tribute to whom tribute is due."  That's taxes. "Custom to whom custom is due."  That's border taxes. "Fear to whom fear."  That's the law. "Honour to whom honour."  Magistrates. "Owe no man anything, but to love one another for he that loveth with another hath fulfilled the law."

Who is the King in America?

Now, let's go back. That's some heavy passages. Isn't it? Now, he said, obey the king, honor him. Now, let me ask you, who is the king in America? Nope, the constitution. Our country is unique to all other countries. Now, some have partially mimicked us, but our king is not a man, because he can be fined, imprisoned, impeached, the president of the United States. Our king is a constitution. So, we have sworn allegiance to our constitution, not to a man. So when a man acts contrary to the constitution, then in America, we practice civil dissent.

We vote. We practice civil dissent. And when they tell us, as they did at one time, we had to send our kids to public school. That's what the magistrates said. We said no, because under God and under our constitution, which is our king, we didn't have to send our kids to public school. God gave us the duty to teach them. So, we didn't obey them. We obeyed the constitution.

In the end, we were vindicated through the court system, but historically, you will find that It was Christians who rebelled against slavery. It was Christians and Christian churches who wanted to bring an end to slavery in this country, who opened up the roads of escorting slaves out of slave states into free states, underground railroad. It was the churches that did that, from one church to the next, one minister to the next. And so the Christians disobeyed the laws of this land to obey a higher law, the law of our constitution, which guaranteed freedom, liberty to every man, including the black people that were at that time enslaved in this country.

Who do we Obey?

So, our country has been volatile throughout history when there's been this struggle between who's in charge? Who do you obey?

And the apostle Peter at one point said, "It's better to obey God than man."( Acts 5:29) There comes a time, just as Jesus disobey the government, and just as Paul disobeyed the government, just as Peter disobeyed the government, there comes a time when you must obey God rather than the king, rather than the constitution, if it were in error. And so I cannot resolve all these issues for you, and you'll have to let the spirit of God lead you and guide you, but there comes a time when you have to do what is godly. And then there comes a time when you may just have to lay down and die, suffer the consequences of a wicked dictatorship.

"Wherefore you must needs be subject, not only for a wrath, but also for conscience sake, for this cause pay ye tribute."  They're ministers, rendering therefore all their dues.

He that Loveth another hath Fulfilled the Law

"Owe no man anything, but to love one another, for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law. For this, thou shall not commit adultery. Thou shall not kill. Thou shall not steal. Thou shall not bear false witness. Thou shall not covet."  The 10 commandments. "If there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely."  And he's saying all the commandments are summed up in this saying. "Thou shall love thy neighbor as thyself."  So, he said all the commandments come under that. If you love your neighbors, yourself, you'd keep all the commandments. "Love worketh no ill to his neighbor, wherefore love is the fulfilling of the law. And that, knowing the time that now it is high time to awake out of sleep."  Good sermon there. "For now is our salvation nearer than when we believed."  He said we're closer to the day of resurrection than when we believed.

Make no Provision for the Flesh

"The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light. Let us walk honestly, as in the day, not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envy. But put you on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh to fulfill the lust thereof."  So, what he's saying is, as Christians, wear Jesus Christ, and don't provide for the flesh.

You see, you're not going to sin in the flesh until you make provision for the flesh. If you're Christian and you're dedicated to holiness, until you provide for the flesh, you won't be drawn away by it. Sins don't come all of a sudden out of nowhere. They don't just jump out and grab you. Sin erodes you as you make provision for it.

Sin comes in and causes you to indulge slightly, but not sin, to lust a little, but not sin, to be a little angry, a little greedy, but not express it, to have a little, but hide it. And you make provision over and over again. And then finally something breaks, and you just spill it all out and you say, "I lost my temper." That's because you carried it around with you and fed it for a long time.

You say, "I just fell into sin." That's because you played around the hole where sin was. You walked to the edge and you looked in, and you played around the hole until you fell into sin. No one surprisingly falls into it when they're serving and walking with God. It's when they leave the fold, walk down the road they shouldn't walk, smell what they shouldn't smell, see what they shouldn't see, and contemplate what is sinful, and then they fall into it.

 So, that is Romans chapter 12 and 13. Next week, we'll continue with chapter 14.

Bible teaching with Michael Pearl.
Learn more about The Door