A Family of Freedom

July 2, 2005 Romans 12:

Introduction:
1.  One of the blessings of being in the body of Christ is the diversity of the body – people from different parts of the world, who have trusted Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior, are part of the body!
> they may be from a different country – speak a different language – have different cultural tendencies and habits . . . but they’re still part of the family of God
2.  If we’re not careful, we can get the mentality that every Christian ought to look like an “American Christian” and everybody ought to be just like us
- While we want God blessings on our county, we have to remember: Jesus didn’t come to establish a democracy or a republic – one day He will rule as King of Kings and Lord of Lords!
3.  We are blessed to be citizens of a heavenly kingdom.
• Philippians 3:20 For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ!
- that means we ought to think & act differently based on our salvation – God is in the business of changing lives – and He is most glorified when are actions reflect His character!
4.  But even though those who know Jesus are ‘not of this world’ (we are called aliens & strangers) – we live and work under imperfect governments – but the bible addresses this issue in our text.
5. We’re going to focus more on Romans 12 & 13: A Family of Freedom
[READ Romans 12 & 13:1-7 – possible assign 6-8 verses per person for a variety of readers]]
-  the 1st eight chapters of Romans deals with us being justified by God’s grace through faith in the person and work of Jesus Christ – we have been set free from the law of sin and death!
- in that sense, and only in that sense, can a family truly be “A Family of Freedom” – the ‘freedom’ I’m referring to is the freedom we have in Christ (Rom. 8:2) – our salvation, justification
6.  This passage communicates what a Family of Freedom should KNOW (and therefore DO) as a result of being justified by the blood of Jesus Christ
- Your being set free in Christ (salvation/redemption) should impact . . . 4 levels of relationships


I.  Our relationship with God – Rom. 12:1-2


• Romans 12:1 Therefore I urge you, brethren, . . .
- Paul starts with this relationship because if we have a right relationship to God, we will have a right relationship to the people who are a part of our lives
*  Our relationship with God ‘urges’ us to do two things:
1) Present our bodies a living and holy sacrifice
* Examples:  Isaac (Gen. 22 – willingly placed himself on the altar to die in obedience to God’s will); and Jesus – the ultimate living sacrifice
2)  Present our minds to God – we allow Him and His Word to control our thinking!
- as you spend time: Studying  //  meditating  //  memorizing  //   delighting in it, and . . . OBEYING it [i.e. making decisions about what to do/not to do based on God’s truth]
- our freedom in Christ also affects . .


II.  Our relationship with other members of the body – Rom. 12:3-16


- if anybody ought to be able to get along, it should be believers – but sometimes that’s not true!
Input: Why is it that sometimes believers don’t get along as well as unbelievers?
Q:  What are the essentials for spiritual ministry and growth in the body of Christ?
A.  Attitude of humility – 12:3
- not thinking more highly of ourselves than we ought to think – a biblical self-image!
B.  Faithful cooperation – 12:4-8
“Spiritual gifts are tools to build with, not toys to play with or weapons to fight with.”
- a variety of gifts . . . but for 1 specific purpose: building up the body of Christ for God’s glory!
C.  Loving participation – 12:9-16
- God’s kind of love – not hypocrisy (fake, double-minded, selfishness)
Agapa (love) = God’s kind of love; unselfish, self-sacrificing, willful devotion
*** IMPORTANT: Discuss the ABF Ministry – building relationships, OUT REACH tool!
3.  Our relationship with non-Christians (even our enemies) – Rom. 12:17-21
Q:  What we are NOT to do: Revenge
- God clearly states that we don’t have the AUTHORITY or the ABILITY to get even!
Input: What is our responsibility when people treat us wrongly?
[Return good for evil – What does that look like on a practical basis? (pray for them, etc.
4.  Our relationship to human governments – Rom. 13:1-7 [READ]
- remember the context: Paul wrote to believers living under the Roman government (something we’re not use to in America!) -- hard for most of us to comprehend
- our responsibilities to governing authorities is clearly stated – Input: What are those?
A.  Submission – 13:1
- This is so important, Paul stresses it twice:  13:1 and 13:5
Subjection = to place one's self in rank under, to render yourself subordinate
Note:  We are to submit to every human institution (quality and type are not mentioned!)
- the only exception to this would be if the authority is asking you to clearly violate God’s Word
• Acts 5:29 "We must obey God rather than men.” (Peter is speaking in this passage)
B.  Reason for Submission – 13:2-6
- Governing authorities that exist have been appointed by God – even those that are EVIL, which God often uses for His divine purposes and then replaces
Point:  To resist government means to resist God Himself – and to resist is to bring judgment upon one's self
C.  ‘Rendering’ That Must Take Place – v. 7
1. We are to pay taxes.
- Doesn’t say you have to like it or agree with the way the money is spent!
2.  We are to pay respect – v. 7
Input: Why is it so hard to respect government authorities?
[many times you get to see their weaknesses publically displayed – how would you like to be in their shoes?? 
[Note: Paul also mentions in 1 Timothy 2 – we are to pray for all those in authority]
Conclusion
Remember Paul’s words:
• 2 Tim. 2:4 No soldier in active service entangles himself in the affairs of everyday life, so that he may please the one who enlisted him as a soldier

Embracing the Adventure of a Growing Family
A Family of Freedom – Romans 12 & 13:1-7
Introduction:
1.  One of the blessings of being in the body of Christ is the diversity of the body.

2.  We are blessed to be citizens of a heavenly kingdom.

* Your being set free in Christ (salvation/redemption) should impact 4 levels of relationships:
I.  Our relationship with God – Rom. 12:1-2
• Romans 12:1 Therefore I urge you, brethren, . . .
*  Our relationship with God ‘urges’ us to do two things:
1) Present our ___________ a living and holy sacrifice

2)  Present our ___________ to God – we allow Him and His Word to control our thinking!
II.  Our relationship with other members of the body – Rom. 12:3-16
Input: Why is it that sometimes believers don’t get along as well as unbelievers?

Q:  What are the essentials for spiritual ministry and growth in the body of Christ?
A.  Attitude of _______________ – 12:3

B.  Faithful ________________ – 12:4-8
“Spiritual gifts are tools to build with, not toys to play with or weapons to fight with.” - Wiersbe

C.  Loving ______________ – 12:9-16
Agapa (love) = God’s kind of love; unselfish, self-sacrificing, willful devotion

3.  Our relationship with non-Christians (even our enemies) – Rom. 12:17-21
Q:  What we are NOT to do: _____________
Input: What is our responsibility when people treat us wrongly?

 


4.  Our relationship to human governments – Rom. 13:1-7
Input: What are those?

A.  __________________ – 13:1
Subjection = to place one's self in rank under, to render yourself subordinate
• Acts 5:29 "We must obey God rather than men.”

B.  Reason for Submission – 13:2-6

C.  ‘Rendering’ That Must Take Place – v. 7
1. We are to pay __________.

2.  We are to pay _____________ – v. 7
Input: Why is it so hard to respect government authorities?

 

Conclusion
- Remember Paul’s words:
• 2 Tim. 2:4 No soldier in active service entangles himself in the affairs of everyday life, so that he may please the one who enlisted him as a soldier.


Embracing the Adventure of a Growing Family
A Family of Freedom – Romans 12 & 13:1-7
Introduction:
1.  One of the blessings of being in the body of Christ is the diversity of the body.
2.  We are blessed to be citizens of a heavenly kingdom.
• Philippians 3:20 For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ!
* Your being set free in Christ (salvation /redemption) should impact 4 levels of relationships:
I.  Our relationship with God – Rom. 12:1-2
• Romans 12:1 Therefore I urge you, brethren, . . .
*  Our relationship with God ‘urges’ us to do two things:
1) Present our bodies a living and holy sacrifice
2)  Present our minds to God – we allow Him and His Word to control our thinking!
II.  Our relationship with other members of the body – Rom. 12:3-16
Input: Why is it that sometimes believers don’t get along as well as unbelievers?
Q:  What are the essentials for spiritual ministry and growth in the body of Christ?
A.  Attitude of humility – 12:3
B.  Faithful cooperation – 12:4-8
“Spiritual gifts are tools to build with, not toys to play with or weapons to fight with.” -Wiersbe
C.  Loving participation – 12:9-16
Agapa (love) = God’s kind of love; unselfish, self-sacrificing, willful devotion
3.  Our relationship with non-Christians (even our enemies) – Rom. 12:17-21
Q:  What we are NOT to do: Revenge
Input: What is our responsibility when people treat us wrongly?
4.  Our relationship to human governments – Rom. 13:1-7 [READ]
Input: What are those?
A.  Submission – 13:1
Subjection = to place one's self in rank under, to render yourself subordinate
• Acts 5:29 "We must obey God rather than men.”
B.  Reason for Submission – 13:2-6
C.  ‘Rendering’ That Must Take Place – v. 7
1. We are to pay taxes.
2.  We are to pay respect – v. 7
Input: Why is it so hard to respect government authorities?
Conclusion
- Remember Paul’s words:
• 2 Tim. 2:4 No soldier in active service entangles himself in the affairs of everyday life, so that he may please the one who enlisted him as a soldier.

Case Study #8 – Family of Freedom!
Al and Zenia work hard to help their children have a good time together.  But they also want them to understand some of the sacrifices of those who have made it possible for them to have those enjoyable times.

In their state, it is illegal to use any fireworks other than sparklers.  To help the children celebrate the July 4 Independence Day, Al went to another state and bought some aerial rockets, big firecrackers, Roman candles and other kinds of fireworks he could not purchase in his own state.  They were unable to attend the local Fourth Fireworks, so he planned this for the family on another day the same weekend.  They have a friend of the family who lives on a large farm and were planning to use the fireworks there away from any buildings for safety.

When Zenia’s brother challenged them on the use of the illegal fireworks, Al explained that the law was a guideline to prevent kids from using them without supervision.  He also used Rom. 14:23 stating that since it wasn’t sin to him, therefore he could in good faith use the fireworks. Zenia’s brother grabbed the fireworks out of Al’s hand and said that he was going to throw them away.  He even pushed Al, and rebuked him in front of the children while saying, “You’re nuts; how can you do this?”

The family had not been able to participate in any Memorial Day services, so they planned a combined time of thanksgiving for those who had served the country to produce the freedoms they enjoyed along with the celebration of those freedoms.  They wanted to emphasize the sacrifices those people had made, so they asked the children to sacrifice some of their money to pay for the fireworks.  Thus they would accomplish the twin goals of a good time and learning about sacrifice.

1. What are some correct goals in this family? [various answers for each question]
Good family times.
Teach about sacrifice and freedom.
Utilize historical events as teaching opportunities.
Concern for safety.
2. What is being ignored in their focus on freedom?
Responsibility
Freedom does not equal license
Numerous biblical principles ‘’ – Consider listing other passages being violated?

3. How is Al misusing Scripture to justify what he wants?
He is misusing Rom. 14:23 in a couple of ways:
1)  Christian liberty has more to do with limiting one’s liberty for the sake of others than it does exercising that liberty while doing damage to your bro/sis
2) The standard is not whether or not it is sin to him but whether not if violates any biblical principles
Since what he is doing is illegal he is sinning by disregarding government authorities.


4. What biblical principles have A & Z made less important than their children learning about sacrifice and freedom?
Pleasing God is to be the primary goal of all our activity.
Thanking God for the sacrifice of others and the freedoms we enjoy.
Learning responsibility in responding to those sacrifices and freedoms.
Effect of parental example on the evaluation process by the children.
5. What principles from the sermon will help this family?
[emphasize Romans 12:17-21 – returning good for evil – Zenia’s brother pushing Al, etc.]
6. What changes could they make in their plans that would help teach all of the above as they teach about sacrifice and freedom?
They could eliminate the fireworks other than what can be purchased in the state.
They could also teach godly principles motivating such a decision.
They need to communicate God’s involvement in the blessings they enjoy.
7. If the situation got as far as the end of the case study, how could biblical principles be brought back into this situation?
Asking the children’s forgiveness for violating biblical principles and the law in purchasing the fireworks.
Al ask his brother-in-law’s forgiveness for misusing the Bible to justify what he wanted.
Turn the fireworks over to the local authorities and take the children with him.
Redo the plans using the principles in the answers above.

Other questions/comments:


Case Study #8 – Family of Freedom!
Al and Zenia work hard to help their children have a good time together.  But they also want them to understand some of the sacrifices of those who have made it possible for them to have those enjoyable times.

In their state, it is illegal to use any fireworks other than sparklers.  To help the children celebrate the July 4 Independence Day, Al went to another state and bought some aerial rockets, big firecrackers, Roman candles and other kinds of fireworks he could not purchase in his own state.  They were unable to attend the local Fourth Fireworks, so he planned this for the family on another day the same weekend.  They have a friend of the family who lives on a large farm and were planning to use the fireworks there away from any buildings for safety.

When Zenia’s brother challenged them on the use of the illegal fireworks, Al explained that the law was a guideline to prevent kids from using them without supervision.  He also used Rom. 14:23 stating that since it wasn’t sin to him, therefore he could in good faith use the fireworks. Zenia’s brother grabbed the fireworks out of Al’s hand and said that he was going to throw them away.  He even pushed Al, and rebuked him in front of the children while saying, “You’re nuts; how can you do this?”

The family had not been able to participate in any Memorial Day services, so they planned a combined time of thanksgiving for those who had served the country to produce the freedoms they enjoyed along with the celebration of those freedoms.  They wanted to emphasize the sacrifices those people had made, so they asked the children to sacrifice some of their money to pay for the fireworks.  Thus they would accomplish the twin goals of a good time and learning about sacrifice.

1. What are some correct goals in this family? [various answers for each question]


2. What is being ignored in their focus on freedom?


3. How is Al misusing Scripture to justify what he wants?

 

4. What biblical principles have A & Z made less important than their children learning about sacrifice and freedom?

 


5. What principles from the sermon will help this family?

 


6. What changes could they make in their plans that would help teach all of the above as they teach about sacrifice and freedom?

 


7. If the situation got as far as the end of the case study, how could biblical principles be brought back into this situation?

 

Other Questions/Comments: