May 7, 2021

What a Time To Be Alive

Romans 12-16

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A Living Sacrifice

I appeal to you therefore, brothers, 1 by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. 2 Do not be...

A Living Sacrifice

I appeal to you therefore, brothers, 1 by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. 2 Do not be conformed to this world, 3 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. 4

Gifts of Grace

For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned. For as in one body we have many members, 5 and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads, 6 with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness.

Marks of the True Christian

Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. 10 Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. 11 Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, 7 serve the Lord. 12 Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. 13 Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.

14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. 16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. 8 Never be wise in your own sight. 17 Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. 18 If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. 19 Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it 9 to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” 20 To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

Submission to the Authorities

Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, for he is God's servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God's wrath on the wrongdoer. Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God's wrath but also for the sake of conscience. For because of this you also pay taxes, for the authorities are ministers of God, attending to this very thing. Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed.

Fulfilling the Law Through Love

Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,” and any other commandment, are summed up in this word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 10 Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.

11 Besides this you know the time, that the hour has come for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed. 12 The night is far gone; the day is at hand. So then let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light. 13 Let us walk properly as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and sensuality, not in quarreling and jealousy. 14 But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.

Do Not Pass Judgment on One Another

As for the one who is weak in faith, welcome him, but not to quarrel over opinions. One person believes he may eat anything, while the weak person eats only vegetables. Let not the one who eats despise the one who abstains, and let not the one who abstains pass judgment on the one who eats, for God has welcomed him. Who are you to pass judgment on the servant of another? It is before his own master 10 that he stands or falls. And he will be upheld, for the Lord is able to make him stand.

One person esteems one day as better than another, while another esteems all days alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. The one who observes the day, observes it in honor of the Lord. The one who eats, eats in honor of the Lord, since he gives thanks to God, while the one who abstains, abstains in honor of the Lord and gives thanks to God. For none of us lives to himself, and none of us dies to himself. For if we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord. So then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord's. For to this end Christ died and lived again, that he might be Lord both of the dead and of the living.

10 Why do you pass judgment on your brother? Or you, why do you despise your brother? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God; 11 for it is written,

“As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me,
    and every tongue shall confess 11 to God.”

12 So then each of us will give an account of himself to God.

Do Not Cause Another to Stumble

13 Therefore let us not pass judgment on one another any longer, but rather decide never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother. 14 I know and am persuaded in the Lord Jesus that nothing is unclean in itself, but it is unclean for anyone who thinks it unclean. 15 For if your brother is grieved by what you eat, you are no longer walking in love. By what you eat, do not destroy the one for whom Christ died. 16 So do not let what you regard as good be spoken of as evil. 17 For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. 18 Whoever thus serves Christ is acceptable to God and approved by men. 19 So then let us pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding.

20 Do not, for the sake of food, destroy the work of God. Everything is indeed clean, but it is wrong for anyone to make another stumble by what he eats. 21 It is good not to eat meat or drink wine or do anything that causes your brother to stumble. 12 22 The faith that you have, keep between yourself and God. Blessed is the one who has no reason to pass judgment on himself for what he approves. 23 But whoever has doubts is condemned if he eats, because the eating is not from faith. For whatever does not proceed from faith is sin. 13

The Example of Christ

We who are strong have an obligation to bear with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, to build him up. For Christ did not please himself, but as it is written, “The reproaches of those who reproached you fell on me.” For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.

Christ the Hope of Jews and Gentiles

For I tell you that Christ became a servant to the circumcised to show God's truthfulness, in order to confirm the promises given to the patriarchs, and in order that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy. As it is written,

“Therefore I will praise you among the Gentiles,
    and sing to your name.”

10 And again it is said,

“Rejoice, O Gentiles, with his people.”

11 And again,

“Praise the Lord, all you Gentiles,
    and let all the peoples extol him.”

12 And again Isaiah says,

“The root of Jesse will come,
    even he who arises to rule the Gentiles;
in him will the Gentiles hope.”

13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.

Paul the Minister to the Gentiles

14 I myself am satisfied about you, my brothers, 14 that you yourselves are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge and able to instruct one another. 15 But on some points I have written to you very boldly by way of reminder, because of the grace given me by God 16 to be a minister of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles in the priestly service of the gospel of God, so that the offering of the Gentiles may be acceptable, sanctified by the Holy Spirit. 17 In Christ Jesus, then, I have reason to be proud of my work for God. 18 For I will not venture to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished through me to bring the Gentiles to obedience—by word and deed, 19 by the power of signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God—so that from Jerusalem and all the way around to Illyricum I have fulfilled the ministry of the gospel of Christ; 20 and thus I make it my ambition to preach the gospel, not where Christ has already been named, lest I build on someone else's foundation, 21 but as it is written,

“Those who have never been told of him will see,
    and those who have never heard will understand.”

Paul's Plan to Visit Rome

22 This is the reason why I have so often been hindered from coming to you. 23 But now, since I no longer have any room for work in these regions, and since I have longed for many years to come to you, 24 I hope to see you in passing as I go to Spain, and to be helped on my journey there by you, once I have enjoyed your company for a while. 25 At present, however, I am going to Jerusalem bringing aid to the saints. 26 For Macedonia and Achaia have been pleased to make some contribution for the poor among the saints at Jerusalem. 27 For they were pleased to do it, and indeed they owe it to them. For if the Gentiles have come to share in their spiritual blessings, they ought also to be of service to them in material blessings. 28 When therefore I have completed this and have delivered to them what has been collected, 15 I will leave for Spain by way of you. 29 I know that when I come to you I will come in the fullness of the blessing 16 of Christ.

30 I appeal to you, brothers, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit, to strive together with me in your prayers to God on my behalf, 31 that I may be delivered from the unbelievers in Judea, and that my service for Jerusalem may be acceptable to the saints, 32 so that by God's will I may come to you with joy and be refreshed in your company. 33 May the God of peace be with you all. Amen.

Personal Greetings

I commend to you our sister Phoebe, a servant 17 of the church at Cenchreae, that you may welcome her in the Lord in a way worthy of the saints, and help her in whatever she may need from you, for she has been a patron of many and of myself as well.

Greet Prisca and Aquila, my fellow workers in Christ Jesus, who risked their necks for my life, to whom not only I give thanks but all the churches of the Gentiles give thanks as well. Greet also the church in their house. Greet my beloved Epaenetus, who was the first convert 18 to Christ in Asia. Greet Mary, who has worked hard for you. Greet Andronicus and Junia, 19 my kinsmen and my fellow prisoners. They are well known to the apostles, 20 and they were in Christ before me. Greet Ampliatus, my beloved in the Lord. Greet Urbanus, our fellow worker in Christ, and my beloved Stachys. 10 Greet Apelles, who is approved in Christ. Greet those who belong to the family of Aristobulus. 11 Greet my kinsman Herodion. Greet those in the Lord who belong to the family of Narcissus. 12 Greet those workers in the Lord, Tryphaena and Tryphosa. Greet the beloved Persis, who has worked hard in the Lord. 13 Greet Rufus, chosen in the Lord; also his mother, who has been a mother to me as well. 14 Greet Asyncritus, Phlegon, Hermes, Patrobas, Hermas, and the brothers 21 who are with them. 15 Greet Philologus, Julia, Nereus and his sister, and Olympas, and all the saints who are with them. 16 Greet one another with a holy kiss. All the churches of Christ greet you.

Final Instructions and Greetings

17 I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them. 18 For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites, 22 and by smooth talk and flattery they deceive the hearts of the naive. 19 For your obedience is known to all, so that I rejoice over you, but I want you to be wise as to what is good and innocent as to what is evil. 20 The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.

21 Timothy, my fellow worker, greets you; so do Lucius and Jason and Sosipater, my kinsmen.

22 I Tertius, who wrote this letter, greet you in the Lord.

23 Gaius, who is host to me and to the whole church, greets you. Erastus, the city treasurer, and our brother Quartus, greet you. 23


25 Now to him who is able to strengthen you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery that was kept secret for long ages 26 but has now been disclosed and through the prophetic writings has been made known to all nations, according to the command of the eternal God, to bring about the obedience of faith— 27 to the only wise God be glory forevermore through Jesus Christ! Amen.


[1] 12:1 Or brothers and sisters
[2] 12:1 Or your rational service
[3] 12:2 Greek age
[4] 12:2 Or what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God
[5] 12:4 Greek parts; also verse 5
[6] 12:8 Or gives aid
[7] 12:11 Or fervent in the Spirit
[8] 12:16 Or give yourselves to humble tasks
[9] 12:19 Greek give place
[10] 14:4 Or lord
[11] 14:11 Or shall give praise
[12] 14:21 Some manuscripts add or be hindered or be weakened
[13] 14:23 Some manuscripts insert here 16:25–27
[14] 15:14 Or brothers and sisters; also verse 30
[15] 15:28 Greek sealed to them this fruit
[16] 15:29 Some manuscripts insert of the gospel
[17] 16:1 Or deaconess
[18] 16:5 Greek firstfruit
[19] 16:7 Or Junias
[20] 16:7 Or messengers
[21] 16:14 Or brothers and sisters; also verse 17
[22] 16:18 Greek their own belly
[23] 16:23 Some manuscripts insert verse 24: The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen

What a Time To Be Alive

Key Verse | Romans 14:10-12

 Why do you pass judgment on your brother? Or you, why do you despise your brother? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God; for it is written,

"As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, 
and every tongue shall confess to God."

So then each of us will give an account of himself to God.

Bio | Whitney Pickett

Hey, Journeyers! My name is Whitney. I have the privilege of getting to watch God move at Watermark Urgent Care every day! If you have not yet seen what the church is doing in the city through the clinics, come and see! One of my favorite verses is Galatians 5:1, "For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery."

Central Truth

Create unity by not passing judgment on another's convictions. Whether we live or we die, we are the Lord's.

Devotional | Romans 12-16

In Romans 12-16, the Apostle Paul talks about how believers should live in response to the gospel. In Romans 14, Paul calls believers to love one another with brotherly affection amidst division of opinions and...

In Romans 12-16, the Apostle Paul talks about how believers should live in response to the gospel. In Romans 14, Paul calls believers to love one another with brotherly affection amidst division of opinions and convictions.

There is every opportunity in this current world to become divided, even among believers in the church—especially on hot topic opinions like food, parenting, vaccinations, voting and politics, where you go to school, and more.

Paul deals first with the importance of not judging one another. This was a temptation for believers then, as it is now. Jewish Christians believed at the time that they should refrain from certain practices, which they believed were displeasing to God. Gentile Christians, on the other hand, felt like those same practices gave glory to God and were pleasing to Him. These practices were neither right nor wrong because they did not involve sin.

Paul calls them all to recognize that God is the ultimate judge and that all people will give an account of themselves to God for their choices in these matters of opinion, and therefore not to pass judgment on other believers. The most important thing is to honor the Lord in all that we do and cultivate intimacy in our relationship with Him! Jesus Christ lived, died, and lives again. He is the Lord of both the living and the dead. Paul's point was that Christ is the Judge, and we are not, so don't act like it.

Paul closes out the chapter by turning from judging to loving your brother and sister. You may have to correct or admonish or rebuke them, but let your affection show when doing so. Don't stand in judgment over nonessentials—meat, vegetables, days, wine, etc. Rather, let everyone in light of the overwhelming mercy and grace we have received through the blood of Christ, decide this—never to put a stumbling block or a hindrance in the way of a brother or sister.

What a time for the people of God's Church to pursue peace in a polarized world. What a time to be alive!

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Discussion Questions

1. What nonessential opinion or conviction are you tempted to make an essential of the Christian faith? Listen to the sermon Contending for the Faith about essential and nonessentials of the Christian faith. 

2. Are your convictions and opinions rooted in giving thanks and glory to God (Romans 14:23b)?

3. The word Lord occurs seven times in Romans 14:5-9. Why is this significant in these four verses?

4. How are you doing at welcoming those people in your life who are walking with the Lord but differ in opinions?

12 Comments available

Kathy Hempel Cox over 1 year ago

Yes, it is…WATTBA!

Michael Scaman over 1 year ago

Q4 I think Paul is very kind, cutting slack for people who may or may not be vegetarians (due to meat being offered to idols a local culinary practice). Also telling people to remmember that people who hold all days alike or one day special and stand before Lord’s as His servants and He can make them stand. Your not the big boss, He is.

I think it’s good to be charitable on disputable matters and respect concience. There is a 'priesthood of believers" in that regard where individuals come to God who knows their conciences and hearts.

Michael Scaman over 1 year ago

Al Mohler’s students did some research into which parts of Romans tended to be in sermons and most where in the opening chapters and first half, not so much in the second half of the book.

Might be better if they were more evenly distributed.

Michael Scaman over 1 year ago

Sandwiched between two commands about love is a command to abhor evil

“Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection.”

Linda Green over 1 year ago

Thanks for pointing us to loving others, Whitney. It is counterintuitive and countercultural to think of others first. It sure doesn’t come naturally to me!

Romans 12:10 is my needed directions: “Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.” That sets the bar high!

Christina Chermak over 1 year ago

This will PREACH in 2021. Thank you Whitney for challenging us and pointing us to the higher call on our lives.

For me, question 3 was helpful. It’s easy to read “each one should be fully convinced in his own mind” and stop there and feel justified in a personal preference. But the rest of the paragraph reminds us the thing we should be fully convinced in our own mind about is whether or not our actions honor the LORD. Not our preference.

Sue Bohlin over 1 year ago

(1/2) Thanks, Whitney! “Don’t stand in judgment over nonessentials—meat, vegetables, days, wine, etc.” And, um, masks?

@Hugh and Greg – LOVED your salvation (or not) stories, brothers!

The Holy Spirit really met me in today’s reading. Romans 13:14—“Instead, put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh to gratify its desires.” The Greek says, “make no provision for the flesh unto desires.” That word “desires” also means “cravings.” Whoa.

Sue Bohlin over 1 year ago

(2/2) This is so sobering in terms of seeing how God wants me to stand against my flesh. I’m remembering God warning Cain, “Sin is crouching at your door. It desires to have you, but you must master it.” The Hebrew word has the sense of a longing, a “stretching out after.” Just like my flesh stretches out, craving what it wants to soothe and satisfy, demanding to be indulged. Today I’m getting a booster shot from the Holy Spirit, reminding me to keep saying no to myself, one of the most important takeaways from going through re:gen.

Greg Jones over 1 year ago


@Hugh, I have a similar story. When was I saved? The first time I think I was 5 or 6 in kindergarten. I remember making a mess of my name in a lady’s new Bible because I wasn’t used to writing it out. We only had to put our initials on any work in kindergarten. I got 3/3 questions right at the end of a backyard Bible study that was supposed to a big Easter egg hunt. 3 for 3 qualified you for a bonus question. Do you want to go heaven? In the moment I was thinking,12 hard boiled eggs and no plastic eggs with good stuff, I’m counting 30-40 kids coming to a conclusion. This wasn’t planned out very well. That thought interrupted-Heaven? Yes.

Greg Jones over 1 year ago

I talked myself out of being saved on the walk home. Over the course of5/6 years2/3 more professions of faith I thought about the first a lot. At11/12 I was able to settle on some things. I don’t know for sure what I’m saying I believe-sometimes I had doubts. If I had to love God to go to heaven I wasn’t sure I could love Him for that reason. But if, I just had to trust Him, I could honestly do that.

I’m60, I have thought about those two experiences my whole life. I can easily associate love of God with things I want-like Heaven, or a different circumstance I would love. I can trust God a circumstance I don’t love, that can honestly feel like rejection.

Agree with you on Paul’s down line. Nothing appetizing about a hard boiled egg and30/40 kids who don’t listen in your backyard. Romans16:18

Hugh Stephenson over 1 year ago

2 of 2

Paul greets 28 people in Romans 16. How many more were/are in his downline? Probably not all believers alive today…but maybe?

I’m in this lady’s downline. I have thought about that phone call ALL-OF-THE-TIME since then.

What if she never remembered it? I’m 63. She’s probably in Heaven

How did she get greeted?

The same way I hope I do when I get there.

Keep sharing. You never know.

Hugh Stephenson over 1 year ago

1 of 2

When was I saved? Not sure. It seems impossible but maybe a long time ago?

FLASHBACK. Sometime in 1973. I am 15, alone, and in the basement of my home in suburban Atlanta. The phone rings. I pick it up. A lady on the other end starts talking. She’s from a local church and is calling to evangelize.

I freeze.

I’m too insecure to hang up.

I’m also too interested to hang up.

She talks for a few minutes asking me basic questions. I keep answering yes.

Eventually, she asks me if I will accept Jesus as my Lord and Savior.


I’m sort of out-of-body by this point.

I say yes.

She gets very happy and emotional and says how overjoyed she is.

Why am I telling you this?

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