Glorious, Inexpressible Joy
11/5 – This is Your True Worship (Romans 12:1-21)
Introduction —Here Paul urges the church to be all in with God. How? They are to present their bodies as a living and holy sacrifice to God. This pleases Him. This is their true worship to Him. Then, in a series of directives, Paul instructs the church in practical ways to show their true worship to God. They must not conform to culture. They must think like the new creations in Christ they are. They must not think more highly of themselves than they ought to think. They must have the same mind toward one another. They must see their profound connection to one another as members of Christ’s body, the church. They must devote themselves to one another. They must use the gifts entrusted to them by God. They must show sincere love. They must abhor evil. They must bless those who persecute. They must rejoice with those who rejoice. They must weep with those who weep. They must never pay back evil for evil to anyone. They must respect what is right in the sight of all people. They must do their part to be at peace with all people. They must never take their own revenge. They must assist their enemies with the basics such as food and drink. They must allow evil to overcome them, but they must overcome evil with good. To see a church live out these instructions is to see a church all in for God. They live their true worship. How about us? Do we live our true worship? Do we fully offer our lives to God? Do we live to please God? Or do we set aside God’s clear commands to live as we please? Do we see the priority of being in a church family Do we do life together? Do we love together? Do we show true worship to one another? Do we show true worship to the world?
So then, my brothers and sisters, because of God’s great mercy to us I appeal to you: offer yourselves as a living sacrifice to God, dedicated to his service and pleasing to him. This is the true worship that you should offer.
We offer all our thoughts, words, and deeds—all of who we are—to God. By His mercy, we're all in for Him all the time.
Let your thoughts show your true worship to God.
3 For through the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith.
Comment:To urge this church to have right thinking is one of the ways Paul pleads with this church. He wants them to live transformed lives by the renewing of their minds (2). Paul wants them be of the same mind toward one another (16). He wants them not to be haughty in mind (16). Paul urges them not to be wise in their own estimation (16). He desires that they take thought (17) for doing what’s right in the sight of all people. Here Paul, through God’s grace, says that everyone in the church should not think more highly of himself than he ought to think. To think more highly than one ought to think is to be arrogant. It’s pride on steroids. It’s unhealthy, ungodly thinking. It’s out of control thinking. And Paul counters by steering them toward sane, under control thinking. Paul realizes that sound judgment, right thinking, is a gift from God given back to in true worship to God. Question:Do you submit your thinking to God? Do you think more highly of yourself than you ought to think? Do you think so as to have sound judgment? Do your thoughts express your true worship to God? Application: Do not think more highly of yourself than your ought to think, but think so as to have sound judgment.
Let your words show your true worship to God.
14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.
Comment:To urge this church to speak godly words is another way Paul pleads with this church. He wants them to speak words that build up. He wants them to go above and beyond culture in blessing those who persecute, speaking well of them instead of cursing them. Paul also directs the church to use their words to teach one another (7), exhort one another (8), and pray for one another (12). To speak godly words is a beautiful expression of true worship. Question:Do you speak words that build up? Do you present your conversations as an act of worship to God? Do you bless others, speaking well of them? Do you refrain for cursing others? Do you encourage others? Application:Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.
Let your actions show your true worship to God.
10 Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor; 11 not lagging behind in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; 12 rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer, 13 contributing to the needs of the saints, practicing hospitality.
Comment:To urge this church to show godly actions is one more way Paul pleads with this church. He wants them to act as the new creations in Christ that they are. He wants them to live this new life in community. He wants them to do life together. Here Paul directs them to be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Paul urges them to give preference to one another, or to outdo one another in showing honor to the other person. How? Paul lists eight ways for these folks to outdo one another in honor: (1) not lagging behind in diligence, (2) being fervent in spirit, (3) serving the Lord, (4) rejoicing in hope, (5) persevering in tribulation, (6) being devoted to prayer, (7) contributing to the needs of the saints, and (8) practicing hospitality. Throughout this section, Paul lists other actions for the church must take in showing their true worship. They must each use the gifts given by God (4-8). They must hold a pure love (9). They must detest evil (9). They must cling to what is good (9). They must associate with the lowly (16). They must never pay back evil for evil to anyone (17). They must never take their own revenge (19). They must not be overcome by evil, but they must overcome evil with good (21). Question: Do you show your true worship to God by your actions? Do you give preference to one another? Application:Be devoted to one another. Outdo one another in showing honor.
Word Study for Romans 12:1-21
1 urge (parakaleo—invite; comfort; exhort; ask for earnestly; call to; implore)
1 presentparistemi—make to stand; be in front of; stand near; place beside; to bring in)
1 spiritual (logikos—thoughtful; reasonable; rational; true to real nature; genuine)
1 service of worship (latreia—state of a hired workman; worship; service; rite; servitude)
2 conformed (syschematizo—shape one’s behavior; be conformed to a pattern or mold; form after)
2 transformed (metamorphoo—be changed; transform the essential nature of something; change appearance)
3 think more highly (hyperphroneo—be haughty; proud; arrogant; overly proud; despise; be vain)
9 without hypocrisy (anypokritos—sincere; genuine; upright; unfeigned; authentic; dear; legitimate)
9 abhor (apostygeo—hate; loathe; to detest utterly)
9 cling (kollao—join; to glue; cement; cause to cleave to; join; stick to)
10 devoted (philostorgos—loving dearly; authentically loving; tenderly devoted; beneficent; yearning)
10 give preference (proegeomai—preside; be a leader; do with eagerness; to go before; put above)
13 contributing (koinoneo—share; have fellowship with; do together with; have in common with; take part in)
13 practicing (dioko—pursue; chase; seek after; hunt; press forward)
14 bless (eulogeo—praise; act kindly toward; speak well of; benefit; act generously)
21 overcome (nikao—conquer; prevail; to win; triumph; victorious)
21 evil (kakos—bad; wicked; harm; wrong; loathsome)
21 good (agathos—gentle; generous; fine; kindness; noble; good things; brave)
Application for Romans 12:1-21
Let’s present our bodies as a living and holy sacrifice to God.
Let’s not be conformed to the world, but let’s be transformed by the renewing of our minds.
Let’s not think more highly of ourselves than we ought to think.
Let’s exercise the gifts God entrusts to us.
Let’s have a pure love for others.
Let’s abhor what is evil and cling to what is good.
Let’s be devoted to one another.
Let’s give preference to one another in honor.
Let’s not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
Gospel Connections for Romans 12:1-21
Christ lived the perfect life. He presented Himself as a living sacrifice. He showed a pure love. He abhorred evil. He held firm to everything good. He gave preference to others. He served them. He rejoiced with them. He wept with them. He associated with the lowly. He never paid back evil for evil to anyone. He fed His enemies. He cared for His enemies. He prayed for them. He forgave them. He died for them. He overcame evil with good.
Thoughts and Quotes for Romans 12:1-21
God is God. If He is God, He is worthy of my worship and my service. I will find rest nowhere but in His will, and that will is infinitely, immeasurably, unspeakably beyond my largest notions of what He is up to. ~ Elisabeth Elliot, Through the Gates of Splendor
Repentance is our daily fruit, our hourly washing, our minute by minute wake-up call; our reminder of God's creation, Jesus' blood, and the Holy Spirit's comfort. Repentance is the only no shame solution to a renewed Christian conscience, because it only proves the obvious: God was right all along. ~ Rosaria Butterfield
As we see the beauty of God and feel His weightiness in our hearts, our hearts begin to desire Him more than we desire sin. Before the Bible says, "Stop sinning," it says, "Behold your God. ~ J.D. Greear, Gospel
Our worship of God is not a part of our lives; worship is our lives. ~ Dillon Burroughs
Commentary for Romans 12:1-21
Romans 12 begins with familiar and famous words. “I urge you … in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—which is your spiritual worship.” We can never have a truly Christian relationship with others until we are fully committed to God. Only when we are surrendered to Him will the world be powerless to squeeze us into its mold, and will we be transformed and able to live out God’s good will.
This is important here, launching a section on interpersonal relationships. We can never substitute quality relationships with other Christians for quality relationship with the Lord. The real source of quality relationships with others is full commitment to the Lord. With this principle established, however, Paul does call us to look closely at the relationship we have with the brothers and sisters whom God has given us.
Mutual ministry (Rom. 12:3–8). The world’s way is all too often to measure people against each other. How well we compete, and how much better we are than others, are ways we are measured.
This competitive dimension of society shows up in everything. School grades are a way of measuring people against others. Sports are designed to select winners, and to separate them from losers. Our economy and businesses are again expressions of a competitive approach to life. The way we view others and our opinion of them are all directly related to how they compare, in terms of skills, education, looks, talents, character, etc. In tremendously significant ways, measured against others, each individual stands or falls alone.
But when we come to the church, this perspective changes. God views us as members of a body. In the body relationship we do not compete; we cooperate. “In Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others” (v. 5). Each of us has a different function, but our differences do not make anyone better or worse than another. The reason is that, whatever our gift (function), each of us contributes. Each of us is necessary!
How then are we to evaluate ourselves? We are each to focus on using our own gift to serve others. We find fulfillment not in comparing ourselves with others, but in being ourselves and using whatever talent God has given in ministry!
How exciting this is. No longer am I any more important than my brother, or he more important than I. We are each important, in and of ourselves.
It is impossible to overestimate the impact of this perspective on ourselves and on interpersonal relationships. When I develop the divine viewpoint:
• I am released from jealousy.
• I can find fulfillment in being who I am, rather than wanting to be like someone else.
• My friendships are not distorted by status—I am awed by none, and look down on none.
• I appreciate others for themselves, without feeling they must be different or must be like me.
Learning to take God’s view of others as members with me in a body where cooperation, not competition, has value initiates a whole new way of relating to others that is unlike anything the world knows.
This is the first key to building a righteous, loving community. To see ourselves and others as God does, as valuable contributing persons in a family of faith.
Love’s priority (Rom. 12:9–21). The key to life in the Christian community is love. Paul makes this very clear. “Love must be sincere.… Be devoted to one another in brotherly love.… Live in harmony with one another.… Overcome evil with good” (vv. 9–10, 16, 21).
The kind of love that Paul described is not a passive thing. Instead it involves an aggressive reaching out to care for others. “Share with God’s people who are in need” (v. 13) is one practical expression of love. “Practice hospitality” (v. 13) is another. “Be willing to associate with people of low position [in society]” (v. 16) is yet another.
A climate of love is absolutely basic to the church of Jesus Christ. Without such caring, and reaching out to touch one another’s lives, the church will fall tragically short of God’s intended experience of His “good, pleasing and perfect will” (v. 2).
Not To Do
Do not conform to this age (2)
Be transformed (by the renewing of your mind) (2)
Do not think more highly of yourself than you ought (3)
Think so as to have sound judgment (3)
Each person must exercise the gifts God gives (4-8)
Love without hypocrisy
Abhor what is evil
Cling to what is good (9)
Be devoted to one another
Give preference to one another in honor (10)
Do not curse (14)
Bless those who persecute
Rejoice with those who rejoice
Weep with those who weep (15)
Be of the same mind toward one another (16)
Do not be haughty in mind (16)
Associate with the lowly (16)
Do not be wise in your own estimation (16)
Never pay back evil for evil to anyone (17)
Take thought to what is right (17)
Be at peace (doing your part) with everyone (18)
Never take your own revenge (19)
Leave room for the wrath of God (19)
Give your enemy something to eat and drink (20)
Do not be overcome by evil (21)
Overcome evil with good (21)
This is Your True Worship
So then, my brothers and sisters, because of God’s great mercy to us I appeal to you: offer yourselves as a living sacrifice to God, dedicated to his service and pleasing to him. This is the true worship that you should offer. (1)
American Bible Society. (1992). The Holy Bible: The Good news Translation (2nd ed., Ro 12:1). New York: American Bible Society.
Word studies from various sources on Logos Software, including, but not limited to Dictionary of Biblical Languages with Semantic Domains by James A. Swanson
Richards, L., & Richards, L. O. (1987). The teacher’s commentary (pp. 834–835). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.