(#429) Romans 12 - The Hardest Thing About Being a Christian

ROM-369-180826 - length: 79:49 - taught on Aug, 26 2018

Class Outline:

/Welcome To 


a Christian Church

Rory Clark



Good Morning!


Welcome to Barah Ministries…a Christian Church that makes a difference worldwide courtesy of the internet…Barah Ministries…a Christian Church that makes a difference locally in the Gilbert, Mesa, and Chandler, AZ communities.  My name is Pastor Rory Clark.  At Barah Ministries, our God is the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and we teach the Word of God from God’s perspective…not from man’s perspective. 


What do you think about the bible?


Under the sponsorship of Satan, the enemy of God, many are convinced the bible is just a piece of literature, written by humans who are sharing their philosophical opinions. Those who reject the bible claim that the Bible is not the Word of God.  They believe the bible contains many contradictions, many errors, and many harmful teachings.  They believe the bible is out of date, and it no longer applies because it is over two thousand years old.


The bible calls itself the exact thinking of the Lord Jesus Christ.  First Corinthians, Chapter 2, Verse 16 says…



For what creature has known the mind of the Lord so well, that he will capable of instructing the Lord? (Of course, no one.)  But we believers in Christ have the mind of Christ (the bible).\


The bible is the owner’s manual for life.  Hebrews, Chapter 4, Verse 12 says…



The Word of God is alive and its penetratingly powerful and it is sharper than any two-edged sword…the Word of God is piercing…reaching the innermost being of a person…even as far as making clear the division of soul and spirit…the division of both joints and marrow…and it is a critic of the thoughts and intentions of the heart.\


The bible is able to sort what is spiritual and what is carnal…what is divine and what is human…what is of the Spirit and what is of the flesh…and there aren’t any pieces of literature that are good enough to do that.  Any problem you have, the bible has a solution…because there is a divine solution for every human problem.


The bible says it is not written from the source of humans who are sharing their opinions…it is actually directly from the source of God…His exact thinking.  Second Peter, Chapter 1, Verses 20 and 21…



But know this first of all…that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of a prophet’s own private interpretation…\



…for no biblical prophecy was ever made by an act of human will…but men carried along by God the Holy Spirit spoke directly from the exact thinking of THE God, the Lord Jesus Christ.\


Believers in Christ, filled with the Spirit, wrote down exactly what was being told to them by God the Holy Spirit through divine revelation.  The thoughts written by one prophet are corroborated by other prophets, making the bible a perfectly assembled puzzle.


Why did God give His creatures the bible?  Second Timothy, Chapter 3, Verse 16…



All Scripture is God breathed (theopneustos) and is profitable for teaching (for instruction)…for reproof (of those who are sinning)… for correction (of errors in thinking)…and for training in righteousness (for those needing guidance with God’s thoughts)…\



…so that the man of God (especially Pastors, but also believers) may become mature…thoroughly equipped for every good work.\

The apostle John makes the purpose of the bible clear in John, Chapter 20, Verses 30 and 31…


/JOHN 20:30

Therefore many other signs Jesus also performed in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book (the bible)…\


/JOHN 20:31 

…but these things written here have been written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ (the Messiah)…the Son of God (in human form)… and that by believing in Christ you may have the resurrection life in Hisname.\


God the Holy Spirit helps us understand the bible.  John, Chapter 16, Verse 13…


/JOHN 16:13

But when He, God the Holy Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you believers in Christ into all the truth…for He will not speak on His own initiative…but whatever He hears (from God the Father), He will speak…and He will disclose to you what is to come (the truths about the future and the truth about the Lord).\


Because God the Holy Spirit is incapable of error, the bible is not only infallible but also inerrant…it contains not a single error or contradiction.  Funny then how only thirty percent of Americans believe that the Bible is the Word of God…and that its teachings should be taken literally… according to a recent poll by Gallup, an American research-based consulting company.


Unbelievers, who have much to say about the bible, cannot understand the bible according to First Corinthians, Chapter 2, Verse 14…



But a natural man (an unbeliever) does not accept the things of the Holy Spirit of God (taught in the Word of God)…for they are foolishness to him...and he cannot understand them…because they are spiritually appraised.\


A person without the assistance of God the Holy Spirit, no matter how

intelligent, cannot really discern that which is spiritual.  Welcome to a place

where you can learn the truth about the bible, and where you can learn truths from the bible.



The Hardest Thing About Being a Christian\


What makes Christianity so hard?  Many things. As believers in Christ, we are in union with Christ…and that union makes US the problem. Christ is the resurrection life and we are into sin and death. Christ is spirit and we listen to the flesh. Christ is liberty and we enjoy and seek out bondage. Christ is the Last Adam and we were born in union with the first Adam. These are just a few of the things that make Christianity difficult.  But perhaps the hardest thing about being a Christian is revealed in Matthew, Chapter 5, Verses 43 and 44…



“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’”\


/MATTHEW 5:44 

“But I (the Lord Jesus Christ) say to you…love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you…”\


Uh…yeah…seriously? It’s easier said than done!  In today’s lesson we’ll find out why God thinks doing everything the opposite of the way the world would do it is so important.


All of Christianity, especially loving our enemies is easier when we hand over our burdens to God. Here’s Casting Crowns encouraging us to trust our God for everything in their song CAST MY CARES.



Be Occupied with the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ

Enjoy the Singing of His Praises



Finding Favor\


Let us pray...\


We’re grateful, Heavenly Father, for the privilege of studying Your absolute truth...the Word of God…


Father, you’ve told us to be aware that our enemies are the members of our own household…it was that way for You when Your anointed cherub bodyguard, Satan, and all of Your angelic creatures turned on you…and why would it be less so for us when a “slave is not greater than his master”… thank you for the “heads up” … thank you for recommending that we love our enemies…thank you for giving us the Holy Spirit of Truth who can help us discern how to best pray for our enemies…


Father…quite often we are not willing to admit that we have enemies…and especially we are not wary of our three most potent enemies…Satan, and The World, and The Flesh…give us the discernment to know who our enemies are, and help us to be sober and to be on the alert so that we can stand firm against their schemes…


…we ask this through the power of God the Holy Spirit…in Christ’s




The Hardest Thing About Being a Christian\


We continue our study of the final passage of Romans, Chapter 12…which extends from Verses 9 to 21…let’s listen to the entire passage, and then we’ll study today’s verse.  God is telling us what to do to live the amazing resurrection life He planned for us in eternity past…


/ROMANS 12:9

Let your unconditional love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil…cling to what is good.\


/ROMANS 12:10 

Be devoted to one another in brotherly love…give preference to one another in honor…\


/ROMANS 12:11 

…not lagging behind in diligence…fervent in spirit…serving the Lord…\


/ROMANS 12:12 

…rejoicing in hope…persevering in tribulation…devoted to prayer…\


/ROMANS 12:13 

…contributing to the needs of the saints…practicing hospitality.\


/ROMANS 12:14 

Bless those who persecute you…bless and do not curse.\


/ROMANS 12:15 

Rejoice with those who rejoice…and weep with those who weep.\


/ROMANS 12:16 

Be of the same mind toward one another…do not be haughty in mind…but associate with the lowly. Do not be wise in your own estimation.\


/ROMANS 12:17 

Never pay back evil for evil to anyone.  Respect what is right in the sight of all men.\


/ROMANS 12:18 

If possible…so far as it depends on you…be at peace with all men.\


/ROMANS 12:19 

Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord.\


/ROMANS 12:20 

“But if your enemy is hungry, feed him, and if he is thirsty, give him a drink…for in so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.”\


/ROMANS 12:21 

Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.\


Let’s continue our look at God’s DO and DON’T commands in this final

passage of Romans, Chapter 12…we left off at the second part of Verse 13.  What is God telling is to do when He says…


/ROMANS 12:13b

…practicing hospitality.\


Translated other ways…“Be given to hospitality” … “Pursue people you don’t know with hospitality.” Hospitality is a love for strangers. If there is one thing I know for sure, we live in a xenophobic world…we are terrified of strangers.  This verse simply says, “CARE!”  There’s an old saying, “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”    


In Hebrews, Chapter 13, Verses 1 to 3…the writer is passing along some DO’s and DON’TS of the Christian Way of Living as well…



Let unconditional love of the brethren continue.\


Love your brothers…treat fellow Christians well…


/HEBREWS 13:2 

Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers…for by this some have entertained angels without knowing it.\



/HEBREWS 13:3 

Remember the prisoners…as if you are in prison with them…and remember those who are ill-treated…since you yourselves also are in the body.\


The thing I love most about God’s expectations in this matter is that He expects hospitality to be a PRACTICE.  Practice hospitality!  God wants us to repeat hospitality over and over because our God is concerned about how we treat other people.  Romans, Chapter 12, Verse 14…


/ROMANS 12:14 

Bless those who persecute you…bless and do not curse.\


This is what makes Christianity hard!  In Luke, Chapter 6, Verses 27 to 36, more DO’s and DON’TS of the Christian Way of Living…let’s listen in as the Lord gives us seven thing that indicate unconditional love is in play…


/LUKE 6:27

“But I (the Lord Jesus Christ) say to you who hear…love your enemies unconditionally…do good to those who hate you…”\


/LUKE 6:28 

“…bless those who curse you…pray for those who mistreat (and abuse) you.”\


/LUKE 6:29 

“Whoever hits you on the cheek…offer him the other cheek also…and whoever takes away your coat…do not withhold your shirt from him either.”\


/LUKE 6:30 

“Give to everyone who asks of you…and whoever takes away what is yours…do not demand it back.”\


/LUKE 6:31

“Treat others the same way you want them to treat you.”\


/LUKE 6:32 

“If you love those who love you…what credit is that to you? For even sinners (unbelievers) love those who love them.”\


/LUKE 6:33 

“If you do good to those who do good to you…what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same.”\


/LUKE 6:34 

“If you lend to those from whom you expect to receive…what credit is that to you?  Even sinners lend to sinners in order to receive back the same amount.”\


/LUKE 6:35 

“But love your enemies…and do good…and lend…expecting nothing in

return…and your reward will be great…and you will be sons of the Most

High…for He Himself is kind to ungrateful and evil men.”\


/LUKE 6:36

“Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.”\


Doing these things is a proof of your absolutely righteous state…unbelievers can’t even do these things. What is our God saying here?  He is saying we will reap what we sow.  What we reflect will be reflected back to us.


There is not a single thing in us that wants to do what the Lord suggests in the matter of our enemies. In essence, the Lord is asking us to treat our enemies better than we treat our friends.  But look at the genius of our God in this matter.  He is not asking us to handle the persecution and the abuse and the hatred and the cursing we sustain from our enemies alone. He is asking us to pray…which means He is asking us to involve Him in the handling of our situations with our enemies.  I’d imagine He’s asking that because we are too emotional to be objective about our enemies.  He is also asking it, perhaps, because we don’t have enough power to deal effectively with our enemies.


God wants us to pray for our enemies.  Often, when we pray for ourselves, we pray only for the survival things…food and health and safety and success and happiness and great relationships and money. But we don’t often pray for the spiritual things…for more faith…or for holiness…or for a pure heart…or for trustworthiness…or for obedience…or for wisdom…or for courage when we are witnessing. What do you pray for in the matter of yourself?  What do you pray for in the matter of your enemies?  No need to feel guilty at your lack…Romans, Chapter 8, Verses 26 and 27 say…


/ROMANS 8:26

God the Holy Spirit keeps on helping our weakness in prayer…for we believers in Christ do not know how to pray as we should…but God the Holy Spirit Himself keeps on interceding for us believers in Christ during prayer with groanings too deep for words…\


/ROMANS 8:27 

…and God the Father is the One who searches our hearts…and He knows what the mind of God the Holy Spirit is (because they are One and they are they are like-minded)…because the Spirit keeps on interceding for the saints (believers in Christ) according to the will of God the Father.\


God the Father always knows what the Spirit is thinking.  If you’re one of those people who doesn’t know how to get your thoughts into words because you PRACTICE not getting your thoughts into words…God the Holy Spirit helps.  In the matter of praying for our enemies, we need a lot of help.

Who are your enemies? Are you admitting that you have enemies? Are you praying for your enemies? Let’s take a five-minute break...and when we come back we’ll hear more about this hardest aspect of Christianity.



Five Minutes\



The Hardest Thing About Being a Christian\


This week we got a couple of unexpected donations.  I can’t even begin to tell you what that does for me personally.  It’s not about the money.  Donations tell me how much you appreciate my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and His Word.  Your contributions touch me deeply…and I thank you for them.  Your contributions make this job worthwhile.  You allow us to continuing paying our bills, which allows us to keep this ministry open, so we can provide the gospel message and the Word of God to a lost and dying world.  We need financial help.  Thank you very much for your generosity.  Let’s welcome up Deacon Denny Goodall with this week’s offering message.



Deacon Denny Goodall\




ROMANS 15:1-2

Now we who are strong ought to bear the weaknesses of those without strength instead of just pleasing ourselves.//Each of us is to please his neighbor for our neighbor’s good…for his edification.\ 





Dave McClure, Instrumental\



The Hardest Thing About Being a Christian\


Welcome back!  When we are beset on all sides by our enemies we have friends…especially FRIENDS IN HIGH PLACES…here is Larnell Harris to tell us about them.



Be Occupied with the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ

Enjoy the Singing of His Praises



Larnelle Harris\



The Hardest Thing About Being a Christian\


In Matthew, Chapter 5, Verses 46 to 48…as He is son prone to do, the Lord gives the Pharisees a dose of reality…



“For if you love unconditionally those who love you unconditionally, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same?”\


Since God’s unconditional love extends to everyone, so should our unconditional love, as believers in Christ, extend to everyone.



“If you greet only your brothers…and of course you do…what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles (unbelievers) do the same?”\


/MATTHEW 5:48 

“Therefore you believers in Christ are to be perfect…as your heavenly Father is perfect.”\ 


Believers in Christ are not to act as pagan unbelievers do.


What can we pray for in the matter of our enemies?  A prayer for our enemies might sound like this…


Father, I am praying for my enemies…for the co-worker who is mistreating me...for my wife who belittles me…for my child who disrespects and dishonors me…for the friend who betrays me…for our national enemies who want to kill me…I am also praying for those who protect me in our magnificent military — Father put my enemies in touch with the gospel message of salvation so they may come under the saving, purifying sway of your Sovereign rule, and so they become the center of your “so great” care... help my enemies want to love You and to do your will with all their might and without reservation…with the purest motives…and with great joy. Father, give my enemies abundant physical resources…the food and clothing and shelter and education and healthcare and transportation that they need to fulfill your calling on their lives. Remind my enemies, Father, that their sins are forgiven in the past and they stand forgiven forever…as you influence them to repentance, make them forgiving people as well… people who pray for their own enemies…protect my enemies from overpowering temptations and from the destructive power of Satan, The World System, and The Flesh.




We are to pray not only for the physical needs of our enemies but for their eternal needs as well.


Here is the truth…there is nothing inside of us that wants anything to do with any of this.  You see we may love someone unconditionally…we may forgive them for anything they have done to us…any way they have treated us…we may offer them the grace to make mistakes with us again…but truly we may not even want to talk to them…especially when the wounds they have inflicted are too fresh…yet there in nothing, absolutely nothing that keeps us from talking to God about them…there is nothing that keeps us from praying for them…and if we are to call ourselves Christians…we must do what is hard…and what is hard is praying for our enemies…perhaps the hardest thing in biblical Christianity.  We’ll hear more on this subject in our next lesson.


Make the Most Important Decision of Your Life\


The closing moments of our study are for anyone who does not have a personal relationship with the Sovereign God of the Universe, the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  We want you to know that GOD WANTS YOU.  


The bad news is that all of us are born in a state of unrighteousness.  We are born physically alive and spiritually dead as ungodly unbelievers.  It’s not our fault, but it is our circumstance.  In First Corinthians, Chapter 15, Verse 22, the bible says…



For all in union with Adam at physical birth (and that is every human who comes to earth) are set to die the second death in the Lake of Fire…\


But there’s good news that overrides the bad news!  It’s an easy decision to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ to be saved…you can do it anytime and anywhere… let’s see what happened in a prison in Rome in Acts, Chapter 16, Verses 25 to 34…


/ACTS 16:25

But about midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns of praise to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them…\


/ACTS 16:26

…and suddenly there came a great earthquake…so that the foundations of the prison house were shaken…and immediately all the doors were opened and everyone’s chains were unfastened.\


/ACTS 16:27 

When the jailer (a prison guard) awoke and saw the prison doors opened… he drew his sword and was about to kill himself…supposing that the prisoners had escaped.\


/ACTS 16:28 

But Paul cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Do not harm yourself…for we are all here!”\


/ACTS 16:29 

And the jailer called for lights and rushed in…and trembling with fear he fell down before Paul and Silas…\


/ACTS 16:30 

…and after the prison guard brought Paul and Silas out, he said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”\


/ACTS 16:31 

And Paul and Silas said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and everyone in your household who also believes.”\


There are no works of any kind necessary to be saved…simply faith alone in the Lord Jesus Christ is the ticket to eternal life…


/ACTS 16:32 

And Paul and Silas spoke the word of the Lord to the jailer together with all the people who were in his house.\


/ACTS 16:33 

And the jailer took Paul and Silas that very hour of the night and washed their wounds…and immediately he was baptized...he and all his household.\


/ACTS 16:34 

And the jailer brought Paul and Silas into his house and set food before them, and rejoiced greatly, having believed in THE God (the Lord Jesus Christ) with his whole household.\


How did our jailer friend get saved?  In a crisis, he recognized He needed a Savior.  He asked someone who knew what it took to be saved.  Believers in Christ presented the accurate gospel message.  The jailer did what was suggested.  Romans, Chapter 1, Verses 18 to 20…


/ROMANS 1:18

For the wrath of God the Father is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and against the unrighteousness of men (unbelievers) who suppress the truth by their unrighteousness…\



/ROMANS 1:19 

…because that which is known about God the Father is evident within them (even from inside of them) for God the Father made it evident to them (from inside of them).\ 


/ROMANS 1:20 

For since the creation of the world God’s invisible attributes, God’s eternal power and God’s divine nature, have been clearly seen by all men, being understood even through what has been made (in nature…God’s creative work)…so that all mankind are without excuse before God.\


God provides the good news, the gospel message, from the outside to all of us through believers in Christ…and He also puts knowledge of Himself on the inside of all of us…He even puts knowledge of Himself in nature…so that we have multiple opportunities to be saved.  God makes Himself clearly visible.  Acts, Chapter 16, Verse 31…


/ACTS 16:31 

“Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and everyone in your household who also believes.”\


John, Chapter 3, Verse 36…


/JOHN 3:36

“He who believes in the Son has the resurrection life right at that moment… but he who does not obey the command to believe in the Son will not see the resurrection life…instead the wrath of God (the Lake of Fire) abides on him.”\


It’s a simple choice to become a believer in Christ so you can be saved for all eternity.  Don’t miss your opportunity!  We have a God who loves us unconditionally.  You can’t disappoint Him.  In fact, you have never disappointed Him.  Here’s June Murphy with a reminder in her song I CAN’T DISAPPOINT YOU.




June Murphy\



Let us pray...\


/Thanks for coming!

Thanks for watching!

Thanks for listening!




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