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Ruminating on ROMANS! (Some Thoughts on Paul’s Great Epistle) #35 “Critical Imperatives for the Christ-Follower” (A Study of Romans 12) Part 7

Many of you know that my New Jersey friend Frank and I are reading through God’s Word together (described here). We’re now in the book of Romans and are reading chapter 12 each day this week.I count 24 injunctions or commands or imperatives for the believer here in Romans 12. I’m aware that the expression “critical imperative” is redundant, but I think it’s useful for what we see here in this great chapter. Let’s continue our multipart study by looking at verse 10.

We’ve seen that the believer is to offer his body as a living sacrifice, not to conform to the pattern of this world, to be transformed by the renewing of his mind, to think of himself with sober judgment, to use his gifts to build up the body of Christ, and to hate as God hates!

The seventh critical imperative is —7. The believer is TO BE DEVOTED TO THE BODY IN LOVE! (v. 10)

What exactly does it mean to be devoted to one another in love? Well, we learn in Acts 2:42 that the early church was devoted to four priorities as they met together: “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.” But were they devoted to each other?

The answer, of course, is YES! And they showed their devotion to other believers by praying for each other, suffering persecution with each other, financially supporting each other, even rebuking each other (one thinks of Paul’s rebuke of Peter in the book of Galatians!). Such devotion requires TIME, ENERGY, WISDOM, INVOLVEMENT, COMPASSION, BOLDNESS, etc.

Today’s Challenge: Can you honestly say that you are devoted to other believers in love? How do you show that devotion? Be specific. And then look for additional ways to express your affection for another in Christ.

 
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Posted by on February 17, 2021 in Romans 12

 

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An Illustration of DEVOTION!

You may have heard the story about the young check-out girl at a local Wal*Mart. She seemed bored with her job, somewhat unfriendly to the customers, and was always looking at her watch to see how much longer she had to be at work.

Her supervisor took her aside and said, “Becky Anne,” (she was a Southern girl), “you don’t seem too interested in your job here at Wal*Mart. You don’t seem real motivated to contribute to our philosophy, but I’m not going to fire you right now. I want to ask you a few questions. Are you ready?” “Yessir,” Becky Anne said.

“Becky Anne, let’s imagine that you had the power to hire any one of the following three guys you see working in a rock quarry. You interview the first guy and ask him, ‘What are you doing?’ He says, ‘I’m moving these stupid rocks. Boy, are they heavy!’ You interview the second guy, ‘What are you doing?’ He says, ‘I’m moving this pile of dumb rocks so I can get enough money to make my truck payment.’ You go to the third guy and ask him, ‘What are you doing?’ He says, ‘I’m helping to build a cathedral!’

Which of those three guys would you hire, Becky Ann?” Becky Ann thought hard for a few seconds and then said,

“The cute one, I guess!”

[Acts 2:42 says the early Christians devoted themselves to the four priorities listed there. Are we today marked by that kind of devotion?]

 
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Posted by on May 22, 2019 in devotion

 

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Some Quotes from John Piper’s Seeing and Savoring Jesus Christ

This was an encouraging book to read.  Short.  Passionate.  Devotional in a good sense.  Need your love for the Lord stirred up?  Want to grow in your appreciation of the Person of the Lord Jesus?  Then this book is for you!   Here are a couple of quotes that jumped out at me:

We need “the eyes of [our] hearts” (Eph. 1:18) opened to see the Lord!

“We are all starved for the glory of God, not self.  No one goes to the Grand Canyon to increase self-esteem.” (15).

A prayer:  “Wean us from our obsession with trivial things.” (17).

A prayer:  “Remove the lopsided and distorted images of your Son that weaken our worship and lame our obedience. . . . So deliver us from small dreams and timid ventures and halting plans.” (33).

Some of you know that I have been working on my next book, Unlike Jesus, which is a study of becoming a friend of sinners (from Mt. 11).  Piper comments on this text:  “Truth came dressed in camel skins and eating locusts and living in the wilderness and calling kings adulterers and doing no miracles and dying for a dancing girl.  And this was not acceptable.  So truth came sociably and went to feasts and made fine wine and let a harlot wash his feet.  But this too was not acceptable.” (61).

A prayer:  “Fight for us, O God, that we not drift numb and blind and foolish into vain and empty excitements.  Life is too short, too precious, too painful to waste on worldly bubbles that burst, Heaven is too great, hell is too horrible, eternity is too long that we should putter around on the porch of eternity. . . . We fear our bent to trifling.” (72).

“It follows, starkly, that horrific calamities in this world, no matter how painful, are not the greatest tragedy.  Far greater is the failure to escape hell through repentance and faith.” (97).

“Break our addiction to this world.” (116).

“. . . the Spirit persuades ‘by and with the Scriptures.’  He does not skirt the Scriptures and substitute private revelations about the Scriptures.” (121).

“Christ is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in him.” (122)

 

 

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TEN STEPS TO SPIRITUALITY (Step 7)

In our course, “The Integration of Theology and Psychology,” Dr. Allan McKechnie KeynoteScreenSnapz012and I have been discussing the doctrine of salvation and its implications for counselors who are Christians.  One aspect of salvation is the continuing work of God the Holy Spirit in making us like Christ.  This doctrine is called SANCTIFICATION.  The word means “being set apart” or “being made holy.”

I believe I Timothy 4 presents us with ten very specific steps we may take to advance in our becoming like Christ.  Let’s look at that passage and continue investigating those ten steps.

I Timothy 4 says,

Have nothing to do with godless myths and old wives’ tales; rather, train yourself to be godly. For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come. This is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance. 10 That is why we labor and strive, because we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of all people, and especially of those who believe.

11 Command and teach these things. 12 Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity. 13 Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to preaching and to teaching. 14 Do not neglect your gift, which was given you through prophecy when the body of elders laid their hands on you.

15 Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress. 16 Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.

The FIRST STEP we saw in this text was simply:  PAY ATTENTION TO WHAT YOU AVOID (v. 7)

The SECOND STEP we notice is:  TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR YOUR OWN SPIRITUAL LIFE (v. 7)

The THIRD STEP we see is:  INVEST IN THIS LIFE AND THE NEXT (v. 8)

The FOURTH STEP here in this text is:  REST ON WHAT IS WORTHY OF YOUR TRUST (v. 9)

The FIFTH STEP we see in this passage is simply: WORK HARD IN YOUR LIFE OF FAITH IN THE LORD (v. 10)

The SIXTH STEP Paul gives us here is BOLDLY PROCLAIM THE TRUTH WITH YOUR WORDS AND LIFE (vv. 11-12)

The SEVENTH STEP which helps us to become spiritual is DEVOTE YOURSELF TO THE WORD OF GOD AND THE USE OF YOUR GIFT (vv. 13-14)

We read in verses 13-14 the following:  13 Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to preaching and to teaching. 14 Do not neglect your gift, which was given you through prophecy when the body of elders laid their hands on you.

Devotion seems to be a rare commodity these days.  What do we mean when we say someone is “devoted”?  I think that they are determined, committed, single-minded, focused.  Paul admonishes Timothy to give his energies and attention to the TRUTH of the Scriptures, specifically to the public reading, preaching, and teaching of them.

I once served on a committee which judged high school students’ public reading of Scripture.  Their readings were excellent, emphasizing the tone and force of the various Bible passages they were each assigned.  We need to recover a thirst for hearing God’s Word read aloud to us!

Paul also exhorts Timothy to not neglect the spiritual gift which he received when the body of elders laid hands on him.  Spiritual gifts — those abilities to serve God and God’s people — are described in four places in the New Testament:  Romans 12, I Corinthians 12, Ephesians 4, and I Peter 4.  If you are a believer in Christ, do you know what your spiritual gift is?  If so, are you neglecting it?

Questions:

1.  What are some reasons that we don’t get excited about the publicKeynoteScreenSnapz014 reading of the Scriptures?  What can you do practically to overcome that reluctance in your local church?

2.  Do you know what your spiritual gift is — and are you using it?

 
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Posted by on January 4, 2013 in public reading

 

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