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297: Our Logical Intelligent Service – Lesson 3 Part 1 Book 25

Through the Bible with Les Feldick

LESSON 3 * PART 1 * BOOK 25

OUR LOGICAL INTELLIGENT SERVICE

Now let’s get back into teaching The Book. We trust the Holy Spirit will enhance your understanding as you read, and as you study, because this Book is the most exciting Book on the earth. Now we’re ready to go into Romans Chapter 12, and you remember for the past several lessons we have been in the intervening Chapters of 9-11 which, when we started studying them, I reminded you that they were parenthetical. And just like the structure of an English sentence you can have a complete sentence, and then open it up, and put in a parenthetical statement, you can take that statement back out and still have your complete sentence. Now that’s the whole idea of parenthetics, and that’s the way it is with these three chapters here in Romans. You come to the end of Chapter 8, and then all of a sudden there is this parenthetical thinking of Chapters 9, 10, and 11 where the Apostle Paul, by inspiration of course, deals with the Nation of Israel with regard to the Gentiles. And then when those three chapters end, he comes back to Chapter 12, and verse one, and what I always like to emphasize when he starts out this verse:

Romans 12:1a

“I Beseech you therefore,…”

Usually in other places he would start out the verse with, “Therefore.” And when you see therefore or wherefore, what do you do? Well you go back, and see what Paul is referring to. Now back in Chapter 8, verse 1 Paul says:

Romans 8:1a

“There is therefore now no condemnation….”

You don’t have to go all the way back to Chapter 1 on that “therefore,” but on that one we went back to Chapter 5, and Chapter 7. But here in Chapter 12, with this “therefore” you have to ask yourself, well where does Paul want me to go back to? On this “therefore” he doesn’t want us to go back to Chapters 9-11 that’s for sure, and he doesn’t want us to go back just to Chapter 8, but rather go all the way to the first eight chapters, and as we come into Chapter 12:

Romans 12:1a

“I Beseech you therefore, (on the basis of everything that he has written or taught in those first eight chapters) brethren, by the mercies of God,…”

Now that’s not just empty talk. When you go back and reflect on everything that was written in those first eight chapters, what is really exploding throughout those chapters? The mercies of God. He is not some ogre up there Who is just waiting to zap people when they have done something wrong. Neither is He a Santa Clause waiting to be manipulated, but He is a God of mercy. Remember when we started Romans, and came into Chapters 1-3, God, by the pen of the Apostle Paul, built His case against the whole human race. First we had the immoral person. There was no doubt that he stood in need, but then God went from that immoral person to a good moral person, and then to the religious Jew, because after all the Jews were the only real religion of Paul’s day. And then you come into Chapter 3, what was the conclusion? Whether they were immoral, or moral, or religious Jews, they were all enemies of God. There is none that seeketh after God. There is none righteous, no not one, and then the capstone of it all is Romans 3:23:

Romans 3:23

“For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;” The immoral, the moral, and the religious. Everyone has come short of the glory of God, and then what’s the very next verse there in Chapter 3?

Romans 3:24-26

“Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, (He’s fair, He’s honest in being) and the justifier of him which (Notice all the things that people think they have to do, but those things are not in this verse.. Things like joining the church, baptism, do this and do that, but rather) believeth…”

Do you see that? That’s so simple that it just throws a curve a people, and they just about go into orbit, but that’s what The Book says. “He is the justifier of them that believe.” And then you go into Chapter 4, and He uses Abraham as that epitome of faith. The man when he was a hundred years old, when God said, “You, and your ninety-year old wife Sara are going to have a son, and from that child I’m going to build a nation of people.” And Romans 4:20 says:

Romans 4:20

“He (Abraham) staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief;”

What did Abraham do? He believed God who was rich in mercy even to the man Abraham, and then you come into Chapter 5, what’s the first verse of Chapter 5?

Romans 5:1

“Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:”

Then in Chapter 6, he goes through this whole idea of being identified with Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection. That just as surely as Christ was crucified on that Roman Cross, you and I have also been crucified. And of course Paul brings that to the light then in Galatians Chapter 2, and verse 20:

Galatians 2:20

“I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.”

Now all of this is what Paul is making reference to, and then remember we came into Chapter 7, and Paul came into the dilemma that everyone of us are faced with. Oh, the things we know we should do, we don’t. And the things we know that we shouldn’t do, we do, and Paul went through that same dilemma. And then Paul ends up Chapter 7 by saying:

Romans 7:24

“O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?”

And then Chapter 8, and I’ve always said that if every American would read this chapter once a day, then we’d see a change in this country. Just from that one chapter, and what does verse 1 of that chapter say?

Romans 8:1a

“There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus,…”

And how do we get into Christ Jesus? By believing The Gospel. (Ref. I Corinthians 15:1-4) Now for a moment I want you to turn back with me to Chapter 8, and let’s look at those closing verses from which we’re going to jump right into Romans Chapter 12, and verse 1. So let’s look at Romans Chapter 8, that tremendous chapter of our great Salvation, not based on what we have done, but what Christ has done on our behalf. We have to read these verses because they are just so far beyond human comprehension, that we have to read it, and read it, and read it, and believe it, believe it, and believe it. And here it is:

Romans 8:35,36

“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, `For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.'”

That’s the world’s attitude toward the believer, and has been ever since the beginning of time. Even back in the Old Testament economy, why did the pagan people around Israel so hate the Jew? Because of their relationship with their Creator God, and it’s still the same today. Now verse 37:

Romans 8:37

“Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.”

Now verse 38, and the Apostle Paul’s words should be our words, we should be able to say exactly the same thing, and in verse 38 the word “persuaded” in the Greek is much stronger than what we normally think of as finally consenting to something. It is a word that denotes absolute certainty, without a doubt, and look what it says:

Romans 8:38,39

“For I am persuaded that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Now then with that as a background, and everything we’ve reviewed in these first 8 chapters, flip over to Romans Chapter 12, and what this first verse says.

Romans 12:1

“I Beseech you therefore,…”

Now what does the word `beseech’ really mean? It’s a begging. I plead with you. In other words, is Paul by inspiration laying down a command that you will or else? See this is the difference, and we’re going to see it in another word in a little bit. This is the difference between Grace and Law. Law says pick up sticks on the Sabbath day, and what’s the result? Death by stoning. Now we’re not under that. If we sin, if we fail, we’re not going to be utterly chastised or cast out. But God is going to deal with us in love, we know that He will discipline when we fail if we don’t respond, and He’ll move on from one level of discipline to another. But it’s still the whole idea, “It’s up to us.” As a believer we have such intense liberties that very few people in Christendom understand. In fact turn with me to the Book of Galatians for a moment, and we’ll see the word and how he uses it. Remember, Galatians is written because these believers were being hammered by the Jewish believers to come back under the Law, to practice circumcision, and Judaism to the fullest extent, and Paul had to write this little letter to refute all that. We’re not under the law, we’re not under any demands of those commandments, and so instead he says in verse 1 of Chapter 5:

Galatians 5:1

“Stand fast therefore (and that means just exactly what it says. Be immovable) in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.”

And bondage was legalism. Do you see that? So when you enter into that Salvation that we talked about back in Romans Chapter 1 and verse 16, and all the ramifications of it: justification, sanctification, forgiveness, being baptized into the Body of Christ, the Holy Spirit indwelling, and on and on we could go. Oh what did all that imply? That we’re in Christ, but we have also been set free. A liberty like nothing else on this planet, we are set free. Now back to Romans Chapter 12, and verse 1, with this whole concept that as a believer, as a child of God who has the promise that nothing can separate us from the love of God. We have the promise that now being justified by faith that we have peace with God, now Paul goes on to say:

Romans 12:1

“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present (and that means just exactly what it says. Just say, “Lord, here am I,” like Isaiah of old. And that’s all we have to do. We don’t have to cross raging rivers, or run from this place to another, we don’t have to go out and try to get an education that God can use. We just simply say, “Lord, here am I, use me,” and that’s presenting) your bodies a living sacrifice,…”

Now that throws a curve at us, because ordinarily what do we think of as a sacrifice? Well, the animals that were killed that gave up their life, as Christ the Sacrifice that was killed, put to death the Cross. But you see the death that we now die is a substitutionary death in the Person of Christ. That’s what Paul meant in Galatians:

Galatians 2:20

“I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.”

Although Paul said he was crucified, was he dead? No, he was writing the Book of Galatians when he said it, and it’s the same way with us. As a believer, yes, we’ve died, we have been put to death in the mind of God on the Cross of Calvary. We died when Christ died, but oh, we’re alive! And now it’s our duty, not a command, but rather our duty in light of everything that God has done on our behalf, and we did nothing to present ourselves to Him. I’m going to use this next statement merely for shock. Spiritually we had to stand before God stark naked, and that’s the best way I can put it, with no hope anywhere of getting any help, because when a naked person is caught in a predicament, he’s not going to go out and look for a set of clothes, he’s going to hope for the best.

Now that’s exactly where we were spiritually, we were naked before God, we had nothing we could do, we didn’t even have fig leaves, and so we just had to stand there at His mercy, and mercy was poured out, and He came in, and He did everything that needs to be done, if people will simply believe it. Well, what is a living sacrifice? I’m going to take you back to the Book of Hebrews for a moment. Hebrews was a Book written to the Hebrews, and it was in light of all the Old Testament sacrifices, and rituals, and what have you. Let’s look at Chapter 13. I’m going to take you off the hook. I’m going to give you the idea of presenting your body, “A living sacrifice.” From the time you get up in the morning until you lay your head back on the pillow at night, and it’s so easy especially for us living in blessed America. And I hope you take this verse with you from this day forward, because this is all God is looking for. This is that living sacrifice that He is asking. Now remember God is not commanding it, or demanding it, but rather He is asking for it. That’s what the word beseech means. “I’m asking you, I’m begging of you,” and here it is:

Hebrews 13:15

“By him (that is the crucified Christ up there in verses 12 and 13. By virtue of His death, burial, resurrection on our behalf) therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name.

And this is what God is looking for first and foremost. He wants to hear our lips speak praise, and thanksgiving to Him all day everyday. And that’s the easiest way to fulfill Romans Chapter 12. Now I’ll guarantee that if you have a believer who is going to be offering lips of praise to God seven days a week, you’re going to have a believer who is going to start accomplishing things for God as well. I’m mean it’s just going to work hand and glove, it’s that automatic. Now then come back with me to Romans Chapter 12, and again in verse 1. And remember we were talking about this living sacrifice, and don’t let it stop with the lips of praise, because it will move on into other areas of your life.

Romans 12:1

“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy,…”

Now that scares people, and it used to scare me because I didn’t want to be thought of as holy, because then you’re just sort of out of everything, you’re some sort of a kook, or oddball, but listen, Christianity is never that. But here we are holy, what does that mean? Just simply set-apart. Now when the vessels in the Temple were declared holy what did that mean? Well they were set apart for Temple use, and nothing else. In other words, the high priest’s wife couldn’t come down to the Temple and borrow a ladle, because those instruments were set apart for Temple use, and nothing else. And that’s exactly what we’re for. We are a set-apart people. Now that doesn’t make us an oddball, but it does, in God’s mind, designate us as people of The Book, as people who are living to please Him first. Now, as I’ve told my children over the years, that comes down to the word “Priority.” You have to set your priorities, what is most important in your life. Well remember what the Scriptures says:

Matthew 6:33

“But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.”

Priority says, “God First!” After that these other things can come at their rightful place. Now back to Romans again.

Romans 12:1b

“…that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, (now this is what I want to show you in the Greek that I had never known before) which is your reasonable service.”

For about 20 years now, when I teach Romans I tell folks that these last five Chapters 12-16 of Romans are just practical Christian living. What do I mean by practical? It’s common, it’s ordinary, there isn’t anything in these five chapters that would take you out of the mainstream of your community, and make you an oddball. If you could live in a community where people 99.9% lived out these last five chapters of Romans, you’d be in the closest thing to heaven on earth. But we won’t do it, none of us do, but oh it’s so practical. Getting back to the Greek part of that verse, “reasonable service” as Paul uses it, are the two Greek words `Logikos’ and `Latreia’ which means `ritual’ or `service.’ Now so that you can see what I mean let’s go back to the Book of Hebrews again. Remember the best and only way to really learn is to compare Scripture with Scripture. Hebrews is rehearsing all the Old Testament rituals of Judaism. Explaining the Day of Atonement and all the rest. Now in Chapter 9:1 we find.

Hebrews 9:1a

“Then verily the first covenant (Law) had also ordinances of divine service,…”

And that’s the same Greek word `Latreia as we have back in Romans, but the word divine comes from a different Greek word that implied the established or prescribed ritual according to the Law. Now that was prescribed. I mean when people came to the temple they knew exactly what they were to do and how and when. You know, I’ve accompanied Catholic friends to one of their services, and I say this with no ridicule, but it’s just a fact of life. If you were not Catholic and you were to attend a Roman mass or something like that with a Catholic, they will get up and kneel, then they’ll stand and then kneel. Well, the visitor about 5 minutes into it, what does he become? Totally confused, because about the time you’re kneeling, they are standing. Now the Jew was the same way. When they went into their Synagogue service, they knew exactly when to sit, when to stand, when to respond – there was no confusion because it was established ritual, a religious service. Now come back to Romans Chapter 12 and we have the same service, Latreia, but instead of divine or ritualistic, or religious, our word is in the Greek, `Logikos,’ and our translators for the most part, have translated it “intelligent.” Now, read it that way.

Romans 12:1

“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God which is your reasonable (intelligent) service.” Or you could say, “logical service,” or “practical service.”

Isn’t that beautiful? We’re no longer under the demands of a certain ritual of “you’ll do it this way and this way.” We’re set free. We’re not under any particular commanding type of ritual. We are an individual, accountable to God and God alone. And that is our logical, practical, service. I like that. I don’t know whether you’re catching it, but when I saw this last week as I was getting ready for this, I thought, “Well now that’s exactly what I’ve been telling people but I didn’t have the Greek to prove it.” But now I do. For the Jew or for a person who is in a religion, they have to follow the rituals. But you and I as set-free believers, don’t have a prescribed ritual to follow. But we are just simply in tune with God and we do that which of course He leads us to do. Now let’s go on to verse 2.

Romans 12:2a

“And be not conformed to this (what?) world:…..”

Now the word `world’ in Scripture is usually used in two Greek words – `Kosmos’ from which we get the word `cosmopolitan,’ or `Aion,’ which means `age.’ In other words, we are not to be molded by the god of this age or the god of this world. Now, all the way back to the Garden of Eden, once Adam fell, and he dropped the ball of dominion that he was given to carry, who picked it up? Satan did! And what does the Scripture call Satan? The god of this world! The world, which John says, lies in the lap of the Wicked One. And that’s where most of the people are tied. But this verse says not to be conformed to this world and the god of it.