Ebenezer Baptist Church Ebenezer Baptist Church
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Noon Day Bible Study
Rev. Dr. Howard L. Woods, Jr.
Rev. Dr. Howard L. Woods, Jr.
Tuesday, July 20, 2021
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Why Should I Be Involved In Church?

Rules for Christian Living

Romans 12:15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.

Empathy is the capacity for sharing vicariously the feelings and emotions of others.

Our tendency is to be jealous when others rejoice, and to pass by when they mourn.

God’s way is to enter into the joys and sorrows of those around us.

Romans 12:16 Be of the same mind toward one another. Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own opinion.

To be of the same mind toward one another does not mean that we must see alike on nonessential matters. It is not so much uniformity of mind as harmony of relationships.

We should avoid any trace of snobbishness and should be as outgoing toward humble, lowly folk as toward those of wealth and position.

Again, the apostle warns against a believer being wise in his own opinion. The realization that we have nothing that we did not receive should keep us from an inflated ego.

Romans 12:17 Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men.

Repaying evil for evil is common practice in the world. Men speak of giving tit for tat, of repaying in kind, or of giving someone what he deserves.

But this delight in vengeance should have no place in the lives of those who have been redeemed.

Instead, they should act honorably in the face of abuse and injury, as in all the circumstances of life.

To have regard means to take thought for or be careful to do.

Romans 12:18 If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men.

Christians should not be needlessly provocative or contentious.

The righteousness of God is not worked out by belligerence and wrath.

We should love peace, make peace, and be at peace.

When we have offended others, or when someone has offended us, we should work tirelessly for a peaceful resolution of the matter.

Romans 12:19 Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord.

We must resist the tendency to avenge wrongs that are done to us.

The expression give place to wrath may mean to allow God to take care of it for you, or it may mean to submit passively in a spirit of nonresistance.

The rest of the verse favors the first interpretation—to stand back and let the wrath of God take care of it. Vengeance is God’s prerogative. We should not interfere with what is His right. He will repay at the proper time and in the proper manner.

Lenski writes: God has long ago settled the whole matter about exacting justice from wrongdoers. Not one of them will escape. Perfect justice will be done in every case and will be done perfectly. If any of us interfered, it would be the height of presumption.

Romans 12:20 Therefore “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; If he is thirsty, give him a drink; For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head.”

Christianity goes beyond non-resistance to active benevolence. It does not destroy its enemies by violence but converts them by love.

It feeds the enemy when he is hungry and satisfies his thirst, thus heaping live coals of fire on his head. If the live coal treatment seems cruel, it is because this idiomatic expression is not properly understood. To heap live coals on a person’s head means to make him ashamed of his hostility by surprising him with unconventional kindness.

Romans 12:21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

Darby explains the first part of this verse as follows: “If my bad temper puts you in a bad temper, you have been overcome of evil.”

The great black scientist, George Washington Carver, once said, “I will never let another man ruin my life by making me hate him.” As a believer he would not allow evil to conquer him.

But overcome evil with good. It is characteristic of Christian teaching that it does not stop with the negative prohibition but goes on to the positive exhortation. Evil can be overpowered with good. This is a weapon we should use more frequently.

Stanton treated Lincoln with venomous hatred. He said that it was foolish to go to Africa in search of a gorilla when the original gorilla could be found in Springfield, Illinois. Lincoln took it all in stride. Later Lincoln appointed Stanton as war minister, feeling that he was the most qualified for the office. After Lincoln was shot, Stanton called him the greatest leader of men. Love had conquered!

The Greatest Gift

1 Corinthians 13:1 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal.

Even if a person could speak in all languages, human and angelic, but didn’t use this ability for the good of others, it would be no more profitable or pleasant than the clanging, jangling sound of metals crashing against each other.

Where the spoken word is not understood, there is no profit. It is just a nerve-racking din contributing nothing to the common good.

For tongues to be beneficial, they must be interpreted. Even then, what is said must be edifying.

The tongues of angels may be figurative for exalted speech, but it does not mean an unknown language, because whenever angels spoke to men in the Bible, it was in the common speech, easily understood.

1 Corinthians 13:2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.

Likewise one might receive marvelous revelations from God. He might understand the great mysteries of God, tremendous truths hitherto unrevealed but now made known to him. He might receive a great inflow of divine knowledge, supernaturally imparted. He might be given that heroic faith which is able to remove mountains. Yet if these wonderful gifts are used only for his own benefit and not for the edifying of other members of the Body of Christ, they are of no value, and the holder is nothing, that is, he is of no help to others.

1 Corinthians 13:3 And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing.

If the apostle gave all his goods to feed the poor, or even gave his body to be burned, these valiant acts would not profit him unless they were done in a spirit of love.

If he were merely trying to attract attention to himself and seek a name for himself, then his display of virtue would be valueless.

Macdonald, Farstad Grady Scott, Hindson, E.E.