Stand Alone Sermon

Red Couch Theology Podcast

Sermon Conversations with Alex and Aaron

There’s only so much we can cover in a Sunday morning gathering!
Each week, you’re invited to tune into our podcast at 11 am on Thursdays – recorded (and sometimes prerecorded) for later, online viewing.

What can you expect? Pastors Alex, Aaron and the occasional guest, having a casual conversation diving deeper into ideas related to last Sunday’s teaching.

Ask questions about the sermon series, Blessings and/or Cursings

“I will make you a blessing” (Genesis 12:2)

Questions may be sent through

Blog sites:

Youtube:  https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLCWnNSTN-6XA7oYy6TBfS0LAxqxPvxVjH

Apple Podcast:  https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/guys-drinking-tea/id1616539767 

Red Couch Theology Podcast2024-01-01T17:22:47-07:00

Make Our Ways Straight

God makes our ways straight when we bless those who curse us.

Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. Luke 6:27-28

Kathleen Petersen, in her typically good natured and down to earth way, filled me in on my devotional writing assignment. Aaron was preaching on blessings and cursings based on Deuteronomy 28-30. God was giving the people of Israel the choice of blessings or cursings.  Blessings depended on obedience, so his requirements were not too hard to achieve. Then, Kathleen threw a curve ball — Jesus flipped the script on blessings and cursings.  He asked his followers to bless those who cursed them.

Cue deep resentment and a heavy sigh 

As a child I had been taught to not fight back when people hurt me — to absorb cruel words and attitudes. I was all for loving my neighbor, but I’d had enough of being a doormat. To twist the knife, I’d been dreading a meeting that very afternoon with someone I’ve  done a lot of volunteering with. On the positive side, she was Intelligent and passionate and had with a high-powered career, plenty of know-how. However a sharp tongue, a critical attitude, and sense of entitlement made me want to avoid working with her. At the moment, healthy boundaries and protecting myself seemed a lot more sane than meeting for coffee and working out what being a blessing to someone who seemed intent on making my life miserable would look like. Fortunately, Kathleen is a good friend and prayed for our meeting without judgment.

After some small talk at a local coffee shop, our conversation took a turn that I can only attribute to the Holy Spirit. Rather than asking me to absorb or ignore her unkindness, I felt the Holy Spirit was asking me to lead the conversation toward reciprocity. I had mentally prepared some talking points, but they came out much differently than what I had expected to share. . 

Instead of saying “I’m feeling frustrated that you’ve been expecting me to be available at all times including last week when i was driving on the highway and didn’t have time to respond to your demands” I said “I really appreciate the drive and passion you give to this project. And I also appreciate that you set boundaries around your time.  We’re all volunteers and this project is very stressful.  I’m learning from you that I also need to set  boundaries around my time. It’s great that we can have the reciprocal understanding that we will respect other’s needs for time to ourselves.”

Instead of saying, “We are an all volunteer organization and I’m not your help desk or administrative assistant. We are each the help desk.” I said, “The strength of being in an all volunteer organization is that each has the flexibility to problem solve and learn new skills, which keeps work flowing without having to go through a lot of bureaucratic channels. What we are doing isn’t perfect, but we are all learning a lot and becoming stronger and more resourceful all the time!”

We covered a number of topics in the same way; in what could have been a very uncomfortable conversation turned out to be very positive. Each and every one hinged on the topic of reciprocity and keeping mutual respect at the center of our working relationship.  I hadn’t absorbed the extra work she had been hoping to delegate to me and I hadn’t made her feel entitled or rude either. Somehow the Holy Spirit set healthy boundaries for a fair and neutral playing field that straightened out unhealthy patterns of behavior we kept veering toward.  He allowed our conversation to be focused on the truth that we each needed to be carrying our own load. Grace made the message go down in a palatable way. Thank God for his guidance and help in a situation that I didn’t have the wisdom or patience to take on by myself. 

Note. To access scripture links that don’t appear in the email version, read the web version in your browser.

Make Our Ways Straight2024-01-01T09:09:10-07:00

“The Person We Are Becoming”

Deuteronomy 30

When all these blessings and curses I have set before you come on you and you take them to heart wherever the Lord your God disperses you among the nations, and when you and your children return to the Lord your God and obey him with all your heart and with all your soul according to everything I command you today,  then the Lord your God will restore your fortunes and have compassion on you and gather you again from all the nations where he scattered you.  Even if you have been banished to the most distant land under the heavens, from there the Lord your God will gather you and bring you back.  He will bring you to the land that belonged to your ancestors, and you will take possession of it. He will make you more prosperous and numerous than your ancestors.  The Lord your God will circumcise your hearts and the hearts of your descendants, so that you may love him with all your heart and with all your soul, and live.  The Lord your God will put all these curses on your enemies who hate and persecute you. You will again obey the Lord and follow all his commands I am giving you today.  Then the Lord your God will make you most prosperous in all the work of your hands and in the fruit of your womb, the young of your livestock and the crops of your land. The Lord will again delight in you and make you prosperous, just as he delighted in your ancestors, If you obey the Lord your God and keep his commands and decrees that are written in this Book of the Law and turn to the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul.

The Offer of Life or Death

Now what I am commanding you today is not too difficult for you or beyond your reach.  It is not up in heaven, so that you have to ask, “Who will ascend into heaven to get it and proclaim it to us so we may obey it?” Nor is it beyond the sea, so that you have to ask, “Who will cross the sea to get it and proclaim it to us so we may obey it?” No, the word is very near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart so you may obey it.

See, I set before you today life and prosperity, death and destruction. For I command you today to love the Lord your God, to walk in obedience to him, and to keep his commands, decrees and laws; then you will live and increase, and the Lord your God will bless you in the land you are entering to possess.

But if your heart turns away and you are not obedient, and if you are drawn away to bow down to other gods and worship them, I declare to you this day that you will certainly be destroyed. You will not live long in the land you are crossing the Jordan to enter and possess.

This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the Lord is your life,and he will give you many years in the land he swore to give to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Deuteronomy 30: 1-20

I have always loved this passage. It’s simple in a true and beautiful way, like a perfectly symmetrical and contemplated work of art. It feels rock solid, a promise that God won’t back down from, and enduring, the certainty that multiplicity of small choices over days and years will result in a generational blessing. 

Imagine my surprise when realizing, just now, that I hadn’t really understood this passage at all. I had completely missed the choice God was giving to his people. All the aspects I loved about the passage remained — the simplicity, the rock solid certainly, the endurance and promise.

There was one glaring issue that had somehow escaped me entirely — what God was actually asking his people to do. Somehow I had taken the ideas of the Ten Commandments and blessings and cursings, mixed them around in my mind and had come up with what was a toxic concoction for my spiritual health. It went something like this — God wants his people to be blessings to their neighbors — being a blessing takes a lot of effort and vigilance in noticing who around us is in need of a blessing. I had bought myself into a joyless, unachievable doctrine of works that was making me a worn out wreck and most likely a source of puzzlement to the recipients of my “blessings”.

Reading the passage tonight was a complete and wonderful revelation — God isn’t asking us to be blessing machines. He’s asking His people to have no other gods before Him, that we love him out of the deepest and most sincere parts of our hearts.  What an epiphany! 

My absolute favorite thing that Alex often preaches goes something like, “The greatest gift we can give another is the person we are becoming.” That beautifully separates us from the idea that we have to work or perform or sacrifice who we truly are in order to please God and to love our neighbors. Obedience, rather than being a chore, leads to happiness and deep joy. As we rid ourselves of the idols that weigh us down and enslave us, we can fall deeper in love with God. We show up more sparkly and vibrant as that love washes through us and over us, and we can be a blessing to our neighbors.

I’m going to be doing a lot of reflection on this epiphany in 2024. It won’t be a resolution, because that would defeat the whole purpose of this new way of seeing. I think I’ll make it more into a prayer: Surprise me God! Surprise me with all the ways depriving idols of oxygen and encouragement can transform my life.  

Note. To access scripture links that don’t appear in the email version, read the web version in your browser.

“The Person We Are Becoming”2024-01-01T17:17:10-07:00

Two Way Street – We Can Bless God

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. All things were created through him, and apart from him not one thing was created that has been created. In him was life, and that life was the light of men. That light shines in the darkness, and yet the darkness did not overcome it. John 1:1-5 CSB

Today, I begin with these amazing truths about Jesus. This passage should bring all of us to our knees with praise for who he is. Below are the first two verses of Psalms 103 and 104. In both Psalms, David begins by commanding his soul to bless the Lord and reminding himself of the benefits and majesty of the Lord.

My soul, bless the LORD,
and all that is within me, bless his holy name.
My soul, bless the LORD,
and do not forget all his benefits. Psalm 103:1-2 CSB

My soul, bless the LORD!
LORD my God, you are very great;
you are clothed with majesty and splendor.

He wraps himself in light as if it were a robe,
spreading out the sky like a canopy,  Psalm 104:1-2 CSB

Because we are made in the image of God, we can bless him like no other creature. I might be slightly inaccurate thinking God especially enjoys the blessings and praise he receives through our music. Of course, obedience to his Word is the highest praise he can receive, but voicing our praise runs parallel to heartfelt conformity to his commands.  

Unless you are a worship leader, you may not be aware that before the first temple in Jerusalem was built by Solomon, King David instituted a formal music worship system organized in groups of Levites. Details appear in I Chronicles, primarily in chapters 17, 23 and 24. This formal worship took place day and night while the temple was an active place of worship. 

I believe David, who was a skilled musician, understood that our earthly worship should reflect what we will experience throughout eternity. Here is a taste from the Apostle John’s experience recorded in the book of Revelation:

After this I looked, and there was a vast multitude from every nation, tribe, people, and language, which no one could number, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were clothed in white robes with palm branches in their hands. And they cried out in a loud voice:

Salvation belongs to our God,
who is seated on the throne,
and to the Lamb!

All the angels stood around the throne, and along with the elders and the four living creatures they fell facedown before the throne and worshiped God, saying,

Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom
and thanksgiving and honor
and power and strength
be to our God forever and ever. Amen. 

        Revelation 7:9-12 CSB

Does this make you want to join that heavenly chorus? (Okay, I know music isn’t mentioned in these verses, but it’s easy to imagine.) Here is a wonderful piece from Handel’s Messiah that has allowed generations of Christians to engage with each other in blessing God. 

Take a moment to thank God for the musicians who lead our worship services.

Note. To access scripture links that don’t appear in the email version, read the web version in your browser.

Two Way Street – We Can Bless God2023-12-28T12:57:16-07:00

Gateways to Blessing vs Curses

Gateways to God’s Covenant Blessings vs Gateways to Devilish Curses

In our “information age” we encounter a kaleidoscope of ideas about blessings, including those of media celebrity preachers championing techniques to obtain God’s material blessings. In John 6:22-40 Jesus expresses his eternal truth regarding those who seek mere material blessings. In verses 26 & 27 he says the efforts of our search must go further:

“Truly I tell you, you are looking for me, not because you saw the signs, but because you ate the loaves and were filled. Don’t work for the food that perishes but for the food that lasts for eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you, because God the Father has set his seal of approval on him.”

Jesus thus claims he is the Bread of Life — the one we must pursue to receive blessings worth having. Later in John’s gospel he says he is the gateway to blessing/abundance and therefore, the author of the New Covenant of life and abundance:

Jesus said again, “Truly I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. All who came before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep didn’t listen to them. I am the gate. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will come in and go out and find pasture. A thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I have come so that they may have life and have it in abundance.  John 10:7-10 CSB

You likely know this about true blessings. But if I asked you about curses, have you dismissed the concept as primitively superstitious? I encourage you to consider three important Biblical Covenant gateways to both blessings and curses. The first is the Adamic Covenant where every blessing intended for man was found in God’s perfect creation. 

God saw all that he had made, and it was very good indeed. Genesis 1:31 CSB

Later God warns Adam about the first significant gateway to the curse of death (our first and last enemy).

The LORD God took the man and placed him in the garden of Eden to work it and watch over it. And the LORD God commanded the man,
“You are free to eat from any tree of the garden, but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for on the day you eat from it, you will certainly die.”
Genesis 2:15-18 CSB

The second significant gateway is the Abrahamic Covenant which lays out both blessing and curse.

 The LORD said to Abram:

Go from your land, your relatives, and your father’s house
to the land that I will show you.

I will make you into a great nation, I will bless you, I will make your name great,
and you will be a blessing.

I will bless those who bless you, I will curse anyone who treats you with contempt,
and all the peoples on earth will be blessed through you. Genesis 12:1-3 CSB

The third significant gateway is the Mosaic Covenant which is much more explicit in delineating both blessings and curses. The most notable concentration is in Deuteronomy chapter 27:14 through chapter 30. In this Covenant, God acknowledges the influence of the Egyptians on his people during their exile there and anticipates the pull of idolatrous practices of the nations who will surround them as they settle in the Promised Land. He emphasizes the gateway that leads to his marvelous blessings, but warns them of the myriad of gateways leading to curses fashioned by the enemy of our souls.

As you think about God’s concern for his people in highlighting blessings and curses, it’s all the more important to realize that Jesus’ New Covenant of Life and Abundance (the supreme gateway) does not leave us ignorant of gateways to curses engineered by the devil, whose mission is to steal, kill and destroy. For example, read all of Apostle Paul’s treatise on curses that come through idolatry and sexual immorality found in Romans 1:16-32. Here is Paul’s closing statement:

…because they did not think it worthwhile to acknowledge God, God delivered them over to a corrupt mind so that they do what is not right. They are filled with all unrighteousness, evil, greed, and wickedness. They are full of envy, murder, quarrels, deceit, and malice. They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, arrogant, proud, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, senseless, untrustworthy, unloving, and unmerciful. Although they know God’s just sentence—that those who practice such things deserve to die—they not only do them, but even applaud others who practice them.

Although we who pursue the New Covenant relationship with Christ, experience and share his compassion for broken souls who surround us, we cannot join or applaud lifestyles that open us to the curses of corruption and destruction. 

Contemplate the meaning behind these images and descriptions of the “Gates of Hell” in Caesarea Philippi (where Peter confesses Jesus is the Messiah), in contrast to the gates and doorways in this replica of Herod’s Temple in Jerusalem. Ask God for Biblical wisdom to reject deceiving lies interwoven with gateways to curses, so you may fully embrace Christ’s singular gateway to Life and Abundance.

Note. To access scripture links that don’t appear in the email version, read the web version in your browser.

Gateways to Blessing vs Curses2023-12-27T17:33:06-07:00

Red Couch Theology Podcast

Sermon Conversations with Alex and Aaron

There’s only so much we can cover in a Sunday morning gathering!
Each week, you’re invited to tune into our podcast at 11 am on Thursdays – recorded (and sometimes prerecorded) for later, online viewing.

What can you expect? Pastors Alex, Aaron and the occasional guest, having a casual conversation diving deeper into ideas related to last Sunday’s teaching.

Ask questions about the sermon series, Sermon on the Mount,
Bless Those Who Persecute You

It is preferred that questions be sent through

FYI: Texting is to be discontinued for asking questions
for consideration on the podcasts.

Blog sites:

Youtube:  https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLCWnNSTN-6XA7oYy6TBfS0LAxqxPvxVjH

Apple Podcast:  https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/guys-drinking-tea/id1616539767 

Red Couch Theology Podcast2023-11-20T22:54:07-07:00

Sincere Love & Self Sacrifice

by Kathleen Petersen

Love in the Kingdom of God needs to be without hypocrisy, meaning without a disguise, sincere. The junk of our selfish expectations must be cleared away.

Early in life we learn what we need to do to get what we want. Sometimes it involves manipulation using what looks like self-sacrifice, even in “innocent” children. Left unexamined, that pursuit can really mess up close relationships.

The list below comes from Romans 12:9-16. I’ve cherry-picked the passage for those actions that require self-sacrifice without a hidden agenda of benefiting ourselves.

Love must be without hypocrisy.

  • Be devoted to one another with mutual love,
  • Show eagerness in honoring one another.
  • Contribute to the needs of the saints and pursue hospitality.
  • Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.
  • Rejoice with those who rejoice,
  • Weep with those who weep.
  • Live in harmony with one another.
  • Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly.
  • Do not be conceited.

from Romans 12:9-16 NET

In developing the above Love List, the Apostle Paul acted much like a Master Gardener in laying out the things we must get rid of and the things we must acquire in order to replace or amend the soils of our sad-looking, self-seeking gardens. 

God’s invitation to cultivate these self-sacrificial attitudes and actions is not an ordinary to-do list. The elements on this list involve adventurous, challenging, creative work with built in rewards that spill over into and influence many lives with the Love of Christ. 

The most important reward, though, is developing a heart like God’s heart. We can fall into the trap of just “being nice” without developing God’s depth of mind and heart as we practice these habits. 

Please re-read the above list and pick one or two self-sacrificial acts that you want to explore more fully. Dialogue with your Heavenly Father today about specific ways he wants you to cultivate those areas.

Note. To access scripture links that don’t appear in the email version, read the web version in your browser.

Sincere Love & Self Sacrifice2023-11-20T13:43:30-07:00

MOM – LOL!!!

by Bruce “Coach” Hanson

Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality. Romans 12:12-13

Despite appearances, I am not giggling (casual) about memories of my departed mother, though she inspired much giggling. Fifty-eight years ago as a young youth group leader, I took our youth group to a school for evangelism, and there I heard some words that stuck forever. Christianity is the “Miracle Of a Moment, but the Labor Of a Lifetime”.

Fast forward five years, and this slightly pudgy youth leader became a runner. I remember tracing my running path in my car after my first run. It had to be miles! It wasn’t. One quarter of a mile. Yikes! But I was persistent. On good days and bad days I ran. Eventually, that quarter mile became 7.4 miles every day, until I had actually run 32,000 miles.

In the passage above, Paul ends the section by telling us to practice hospitality. PRACTICE implies repetition. I can tell you that I have all these things: joy in hope, patience in affliction, and faith in prayer; but too many times, I have not. They are not easily attainable aspirations. I started with a quarter mile run that led me to running eight 26.2 mile marathons. Spiritually, I am challenging myself in the same manner. Before those marathons, they often had a “carbo-loading” pancake supper the night before. As I cross the finish line, I am reminded of something my friend Carolyn always reminds me of: I can do none of this on my own. The power to do so is provided by starting my day with a big bowl of Holy Spirit Flakes. Practice makes Perfect. Emulate Jesus!! Heaps of Hope. Pounds of Patience. Plentiful Prayer.

Note. To access scripture links that don’t appear in the email version, read the web version in your browser.

MOM – LOL!!!2023-11-20T13:17:34-07:00

Apostle Paul on Sincere Love and Friendship

by Carolyn Schmitt

So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him.

Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.

I’m speaking to you out of deep gratitude for all that God has given me, and especially as I have responsibilities in relation to you. Living then, as every one of you does, in pure grace, it’s important that you not misinterpret yourselves as people who are bringing this goodness to God. No, God brings it all to you. The only accurate way to understand ourselves is by what God is and by what he does for us, not by what we are and what we do for him. Romans 12:1-3 MSG

Love from the center of who you are; don’t fake it. Run for dear life from evil; hold on for dear life to good. Be good friends who love deeply; practice playing second fiddle.

Don’t burn out; keep yourselves fueled and aflame. Be alert servants of the Master, cheerfully expectant. Don’t quit in hard times; pray all the harder. Help needy Christians; be inventive in hospitality.

Bless your enemies; no cursing under your breath. Laugh with your happy friends when they’re happy; share tears when they’re down. Get along with each other; don’t be stuck-up. Make friends with nobodies; don’t be the great somebody. Romans 12:9-16 MSG

I felt that Pauls’ own relationships spoke well of what he told us to do as we relate in sincere love and deep friendship. So I thought it might be instructive and encouraging to include his greetings to the Roman Christians in Chapter 16 of The Message . As you read what he says about the men and women he greets by name, think about how you would describe your relationships with your friends. Perhaps write something about each one in a journal.

Be sure to welcome our friend Phoebe in the way of the Master, with all the generous hospitality we Christians are famous for. I heartily endorse both her and her work. She’s a key representative of the church at Cenchrea. Help her out in whatever she asks. She deserves anything you can do for her. She’s helped many a person, including me.

Say hello to Priscilla and Aquila, who have worked hand in hand with me in serving Jesus. They once put their lives on the line for me. And I’m not the only one grateful to them. All the non-Jewish gatherings of believers also owe them plenty, to say nothing of the church that meets in their house.

Hello to my dear friend Epenetus. He was the very first follower of Jesus in the province of Asia.

Hello to Mary. What a worker she has turned out to be!

Hello to my cousins Andronicus and Junias. We once shared a jail cell. They were believers in Christ before I was. Both of them are outstanding leaders.

Hello to Ampliatus, my good friend in the family of God.

Hello to Urbanus, our companion in Christ’s work, and my good friend Stachys.

Hello to Apelles, a tried-and-true veteran in following Christ.

Hello to the family of Aristobulus.
Hello to my cousin Herodion.
Hello to those who belong to the Lord from the family of Narcissus.

Hello to Tryphena and Tryphosa—such diligent women in serving the Master.

Hello to Persis, a dear friend and hard worker in Christ.

Hello to Rufus—a good choice by the Master!—and his mother. She has also been a dear mother to me.

Hello to Asyncritus, Phlegon, Hermes, Patrobas, Hermas, and also to all of their families.

Hello to Philologus, Julia, Nereus and his sister, and Olympas—and all the followers of Jesus who live with them.

Holy hugs all around! All the churches of Christ send their warmest greetings!

And here are some more greetings from our end. Timothy, my partner in this work, Lucius, and my cousins Jason and Sosipater all said to tell you hello.

I, Tertius, who wrote this letter at Paul’s dictation, send you my personal greetings.

Gaius, who is host here to both me and the whole church, wants to be remembered to you.

Erastus, the city treasurer, and our good friend Quartus send their greetings.
Romans 16:1-23 MSG

Note. To access scripture links that don’t appear in the email version, read the web version in your browser.

Apostle Paul on Sincere Love and Friendship2023-11-22T19:29:00-07:00

An Overview of Romans

by Grace Hunter

Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with God’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.

Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited. Romans 12:9-16 NIV

Paul the Apostle wrote the book of Romans as a letter to the church in Rome in 57 AD. He was nearing the end of his third missionary journey and most likely he wrote this letter while in Corinth. Paul planned to visit Rome on his way to Spain, after he personally delivered the collection gathered from many churches for the poverty-stricken church in Jerusalem. He greatly desired to visit the Roman church, but he had not been there yet when he wrote Romans.

The church in Rome was predominantly Gentile but had a Jewish minority as well. The major theme of the letter to the Romans is the presentation of the gospel and God’s plan of righteousness for the world. Romans contains the clearest and most complete presentation of the gospel, perhaps because Paul had not yet visited Rome, nor had another Apostle taught the church in Rome directly.

Paul explains:

  • that all people are unrighteous;
  • that we receive justification through Christ;
  • the process of our sanctification,
  • the role of Israel, and
  • how we are to be righteous in the world.

Chapter 12 of Romans describes and instructs us on how we are to love one another in the body of Christ, His church. He begins Chapter 12 with:

“Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God–this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will,” Romans 12:1-2 NIV.

He then teaches on Spiritual gifts. Then chapter 13 instructs us on how we as Christians are to practice righteousness in the world around us, including interacting with governmental authority. Chapter 14 and 15 teach us how to interact with both mature and immature Christians.
Paul’s list of characteristics of how Christians should display God’s love and ways sacrificially (in giving of ourselves to others), precedes Paul’s instruction on how we are to interact with the world at large.

It’s always important to keep in mind the reason a particular book in the Bible was written, to whom it was written, by whom it was written, as well as the time and place it was written. Having an outline of the book as a whole is helpful in understanding a particular passage. For example, Romans is organized more like a theological essay than a personal letter. As you read over Romans 12:9-16, think about all that Paul is instructing the Roman Christians to live out in their spiritual lives. Think about how the Holy Spirit is speaking to you through this section of Romans.

Note. To access scripture links that don’t appear in the email version, read the web version in your browser.

An Overview of Romans2023-11-20T22:46:55-07:00
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