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Rom 12:1-2     Note: “spiritual” in Rom 12:1 is from the Greek word logiko,j from which we get our English word “logical”; the KJV translates it as “reasonable” and the NASB text note offers “rational”.  In light of God’s marvelous plan of redemption that offers deliverance from sin and death to all men and which Paul has spent the previous 11 chapters expounding, what is the logical response for one accepting its truth?  What does Paul mean to present our bodies as a living sacrifice?  See Rom 12:2, 6:13, Phil 2:17, 4:18, Heb 13:15-16, 1 Pet 2:5.  Why is such service our reasonable response?  See 1 Cor 6:20, Rom 6:1-2,15-16.  How does Paul’s description of our “service of worship” differ from what the Jews then and many Christians now think of as a service of worship?  See Rom 9:4 and Heb 9:1,6 for the same Greek word.  See also Ex 12:25-26 for its use in the LXX.  In what ways have many modern Christians become conformed to the world?  What is necessary before one can expect to not conform to the pattern of the world?  What is it that renews one’s mind?  See Eph 5:26.  How does the renewing of one’s mind transform that person so as to no longer conform to the world?  See 2b.

Rom 12:3-8     Note: to bring out Paul’s emphasis in the Greek, we might better translate his words in Rom 12:3 as “not to think higher of himself than he ought to think, but to think so as to have sound thinking.”  Why is the way we think so important to our walk with God?  See Prov 23:7, Phil 4:8.  What sort of thinking does Paul mention first for how we are to be transformed by the renewing of our minds?  Why is a humble view of oneself so important to our walk with God?  See Prov 16:18-19, Micah 6:8, Mat 18:1-4, 1 Pet 5:5.  In what area in particular does Paul elaborate that Christians should think soberly about themselves?  See Rom 12:6-8.  Why is sound judgment in this area important for the peace and unity of body of believers?  See Rom 12:4-5, 1 Cor 12:12-30.  How did Paul’s present circumstances likely influence his inclusion of these verses?  Hint: recall from where Paul was writing this letter (see introduction) and some of the problems Paul had had to deal with in that church.  What insight do his words here give us into what he discerned to be the root cause of those problems?  See again Rom 12:3 and compare Rom 12:16.  How might an understanding of this insight help prevent similar problems in a fellowship of believers today?

Rom 12:9-21   Notice that in these verses Paul defines in more concrete terms what it means to offer our bodies as a living and holy sacrifice to God.  Again, how does such service of worship differ from that found in a church that conforms to the world’s mold instead of God’s?  What does Paul mean that our love should be without hypocrisy?  Note: “devoted” in Rom 12:10 means “tenderly affectionate”, and refers to the mutual love between parents and children.  What does he mean to give preference to one another in honor (Rom 12:10)?  Note: the Greek word translated “honor” refers literally to a price or valuing and is often translated as the cost of something; in 1 Pet 2:7 it is translated as “precious value”.  How does an understanding of the unique gifting of every individual (Rom 12:4-8) help us to value others, especially those with whom we may find ourselves in conflict?  In what way do these verses naturally follow the previous verses in the same way that 1 Corinthians 13 follows 1 Corinthians 12?  Which of the things mentioned are especially concrete expressions of the love Paul spoke of in 1 Cor 13 that is the most excellent way (1 Cor 12:31) for resolving conflicts, whether within a body of believers, or a family, or between individuals?  What should our attitude be toward those with whom we find ourselves at odds?  See Rom 12:14,17-21.  How might the relationships in our homes benefit by obeying Paul’s command in Rom 12:17-18?  Why is it important for each person to develop and exercise his unique gifting?  See again Rom 12:6 as well as Rom 12:11.  If an individual is not contributing to the body by exercising his unique gifting, how might that contribute to or cause conflict or other problems to arise?  Compare this to what happens to a physical body when one of its members fails to do its part.  Where is the starting point for every Christian desiring to put into practice his Christian faith?  See Rom 12:16, compare again Rom 12:2-3, and see also Rom 15:5-7.

Excerpt from William MacDonald’s devotional, One Day at a Time:

We must not think of love as an uncontrollable, unpredictable emotion. We are commanded to love, and this would be quite impossible if love were some elusive, sporadic sensation, coming as unaccountably as a common cold. Love does involve the emotions but it is more a matter of the will than of the emotions.

We must also guard against the notion that love is confined to a world of dream castles with little relation to the nitty-gritty of everyday life. For every hour of moonlight and roses, there are weeks of mops and dirty dishes.

In other words, love is intensely practical. For instance, when a plate of bananas is passed at the table and one has black spots, love takes that one. Love cleans the washbasin and bathtub after using them. Love replaces paper towels when the supply is gone so that the next person will not be inconvenienced. Love puts out the lights when they are not in use. It picks up the crumpled Kleenex instead of walking over it. It replaces the gas and oil after using a borrowed car. Love empties the garbage without being asked. It doesn’t keep people waiting. It serves others before self. It takes a squalling baby out so as not to disturb the meeting. Love speaks loudly so that the deaf can hear. And love works in order to have the means to share with others.

Love has a hem to its garment
That reaches right down to the dust
It can reach the stains of the streets and lanes,
And because it can, it must.
It dare not rest on the mountain;
It must go down to the vale;
For it cannot find its fullness of mind
Till it kindles the lives that fail.

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