The Transformed Life (Romans 12-16)
There are times when we need a new look at a familiar verse. The ESV translates the first part of Romans 12:2 this way: “Do not be conformed to this world.” Simple, clear, and concise. But what exactly does Paul mean? Other translations bring out various shades of meaning: “Do not act like the sinful […]
Greet one another with a holy kiss … but don’t go kissing everyone. That will serve as a useful summary of our text. Sometimes it’s not what you say but when you say it that matters. Paul writes these stern words immediately after a long paragraph extending personal greetings to various friends in the church […]
“Greet one another with a holy kiss” (Romans 16:16). In some ways Romans 16 appears to be one of the least-interesting chapters of the New Testament. It consists mostly of Paul’s greetings to a long list of people in Rome. At first glance that doesn’t seem to offer much that would interest us today inasmuch […]
A quarter-century ago, when we were living in the Los Angeles area, I attended an all-day seminar on prayer led by Warren Wiersbe. Those who know Dr. Wiersbe will not be surprised when I say that it was an extremely profitable day. I still remember his first words. He looked at us for a moment […]
Romans 15:22-29 offers a fascinating glimpse into the mind of the Apostle Paul. Essentially it is Paul’s answer to the question, “Why haven’t you visited Rome yet?” We know from Romans 1:11-13 that though he longed to visit the church at Rome, he had been prevented by his duties elsewhere. Now that his letter is […]
In 1978 Michael Hart wrote a book called “The 100: A Ranking of the Most Influential People in History.” In it he ranked the most important people in the history of the world, taking into account the people they influenced, they movements they started, the impact they made, and the legacy they left behind. Needless […]
The term multicultural is much in the news these days. Politicians and social scientists use it to describe a certain approach to American society in which persons are treated in special ways depending upon their racial or ethnic background. This approach is very controversial because critics argue that multiculturalism leads to balkanization of society. The […]
I was twenty-five years old and fresh out of seminary when I became the pastor of a small church in Downey, California. I stayed there almost five years and then moved to Garland, Texas to pastor another church for five-and-a-half years. Then we moved to Oak Park, IL where I served as pastor for just […]
For the last few weeks in our studies of Romans 14-15, we have been looking at the call of God for believers in Christ to live together in peace despite our differences over secondary issues. Just as a reminder, here are some of things Paul has said: Welcome weaker believers – 14:1 Don’t quarrel over […]
Christian Liberty – You are free! Absolutely free. Christ has liberated you from the terrible burden of having to prove your worth by keeping a set of rules. You are free from the law, free from rule keeping, and free to make responsible choices. God has set you free so that you can please him with the choices you make.
Christians have always disagreed – a lot! And it’s not a bad thing. But there is always a danger that our own personal preferences will grow so important that we no longer accept our brothers and sisters in the Lord who disagree with us. The great unifying factor for the people of God is the Lord Jesus Christ. He has broken down the wall that separated us from God and from one another. In Him we are joined together in the body of Christ. If we truly believe in Him, we can let Him deal with those who disagree with us. In the meantime, don’t forget to treat those who disagree as brothers and sisters in the Lord.
Part 1. There are many ways to kill the faith of a new Christian, but the easiest way – and the quickest – is through criticism and a lack of acceptance. We all have a tendency to criticize people who don’t do or say things the way we think they ought to be said or done. Terrible things can happen when we are too quick to offer personal judgments on believers who don’t meet our personal standards. How can we overcome the impulse to criticize our brothers and sisters in Christ?
Christians, do you know what time it is? The Apostle Paul tells us it’s time to wake up, put off the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. In light of the return of Christ, and the lateness of the hour, how should we then live?
Love is the medicine for a sick and fallen world. We need to see love and feel love and experience it in our lives. And we need to know how to pass it along to others. This is the fulfillment of all that God asks of us.
Winston Churchill once remarked that “democracy is the worst form of government until you consider the alternatives.” How true. Democracy is messy and difficult and maddeningly slow because it depends on the will of the people. But who among us would prefer to live under a dictatorship? The recent elections make it clear that democracy […]
There is an amazing scene at the end of the 1996 movie Marvin’s Room. Bessie, played by Diane Keaton, has cared for her ill father and her aunt for 20 years. After learning that she has leukemia, she receives a visit from her estranged sister Lee, played by Meryl Streep. Bessie tells Lee, “I’ve been […]
What makes a great church? We hear that expression often–”a great church”–but no one knows exactly what it means. How do you know when a church has truly become “great?” To begin with, humility, participation, cooperation and the exercise of the spiritual gifts are signs of a church that is healthy and on track.
Moral compromise often begins with a tiny step in the wrong direction. This was the case with Lot, who was unmoved and apathetic to the moral decay around him. It may sound extreme, but the Lord has nothing to say to a compromising believer. You can have Sodom or you can have the Lord, but you can’t have them both. If you live for God, you will demonstrate to yourself and those who know you that that God’s way is always good, pleasing and ultimately perfect.
“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect” (Romans 12:2). We would all like to make some changes, wouldn’t we? Suppose you could change anything about yourself, where […]
“I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship” (Romans 12:1). I must have been about eight or nine years old when I first responded to an altar call. For those who don’t know, the […]
In the name of Jesus, live in peace with everyone. In Jesus’ name, refuse to return evil for evil. Know that out where you live, work, study and play, there are people who won’t like you, who will attempt to hurt, who will mistreat you and then laugh about it. Go anyway, and carry with you the love of God. Go determined not to seek revenge against those who hurt you.