Paul says “Let us Live Like Christ Followers” Part 3
Romans 12:14-16 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. 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. NKJV
Paul ended last time imploring us to be kind and affectionate to one another as fellow brothers and sisters in Christ born of the same Spirit and in love with the same Lord Jesus and so it should not be hard for us to express ourselves in such a manner to souls we will spend eternity with. However, now Paul swings the pendulum all the way back to the opposite end and tells us to bless our persecutors. Now I want to be totally honest here because my Lord Jesus knows the truth of my heart anyway and so He knows that this is hard for me to do. The English word Paul uses bless is translated from the Greek word eulogeo which perhaps is where we get our English word eulogy (a formal expression of praise for someone who has died recently). Eulogeo means to speak well of or to praise. We are to praise the very one’s our enemy the devil works through or uses to pursue and chase after us to cause us bodily harm or injury or to cause us ruin in some other capacity. Paul is no doubt in my mind harkening back to these words he spoke to brother Timothy (as we documented in the last study and so it applies again here) 2 Timothy 2:24-26 The Lord’s bond-servant must not be quarrelsome, but be kind to all, able to teach, patient when wronged, with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition, if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, having been held captive by him to do his will. NKJV
Paul also without any doubt in my mind is reflecting back upon his own heart and life before he encountered Christ as he was a vehement persecutor of Christ Followers (Galatians 1:13-18). Paul saw every persecutor as a yet to be redeemed brother or sister in Christ of his and he wanted all of us to see them through the same lenses and with this kind of heart. Paul knew that this could only be done by the Holy Spirit’s Power working in us and flowing through us as we yield ourselves to Him, as all of these exhortations go back to what Paul urges us to do in Romans 12:1-2. For when we speak well of those who hate and despise us we show forth the difference Christ Alone can make in the character (the walk and talk) of all those who belong to Him. Paul was reflecting back on these words spoken by our Lord Jesus as recorded for us by Dr. Luke here, Luke 6:27-35 “But I say to you who hear, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. Whoever hits you on the cheek, offer him the other also; and whoever takes away your coat, do not withhold your shirt from him either. Give to everyone who asks of you, and whoever takes away what is yours, do not demand it back. Treat others the same way you want them to treat you. If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. If you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. 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. 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.” NKJV
Paul can be considered one of the best teachers our Lord Jesus commissioned under His Authority and because Paul learned not the gospel from men, but it came directly through revelation to him from our Lord Jesus (Galatians 1:11-12), Paul taught as our Lord Jesus did and he was often apt to repeat himself on many occasions. This is what we find Paul doing here by exhorting and urging us to rejoice with our fellow siblings in Christ who are rejoicing and in like manner weep and cry with those who are suffering physically, emotionally, or spiritually because as he said to the Corinthians with these words, 1 Corinthians 12:26 And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it. NKJV Finally, when Paul tells us here to “be of the same mind toward one another” he means for us to desire for our brothers and sisters in Christ Mystical Body the same spiritual blessings, maturity, and intimacy with our Lord Jesus Christ we seek for ourselves. Paul desires that all Christ Followers think alike and in so doing we will desire the good of one another and not be arrogant, boastful, or proud thinking ourselves better than others who Christ loves and died for also. As Paul has already stated earlier in this epistle or letter, that we all have received “the measure” of faith meaning none of us will have faith that is 100%, but we all have been allotted our own portion of faith like a large puzzle has many pieces and we then must be of the same mind with other true believers all around the world that all of our puzzle pieces link up together to display the complete view or picture of the puzzle and in our case the complete view of our Lord, Master, and Savior Jesus Christ.
“Not that we must participate in the sinful mirths or mournings of any, but only in just and reasonable joys and sorrows: not envying those that prosper, but rejoicing with them; truly glad that others have the success and comfort which we have not; not despising those that are in trouble, but concerned for them, and ready to help them, as being ourselves in the body. This is to do as God does, who not only has pleasure in the prosperity of his servants (Psalms 35:27), but is likewise afflicted in all their afflictions, Isaiah 63:9.” Matthew Henry
“There are kinds of wood which are fragrant when they burn; and there are kinds which show their veining under the plane. It is a poor thing if a Christian character only gives back like a mirror the expression of the face that looks at it. To meet hate with hate, and scorn with scorn, is not the way to turn hate into love and scorn into sympathy. Indifferent equilibrium in the presence of active antagonism is not possible for us. As long as we are sensitive we shall wince from a blow, or a sarcasm, or a sneer. We must bless in order to keep ourselves from cursing. The lesson is very hard, and the only way of obeying it fully is to keep near Christ and drink in His Spirit who prayed ‘Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.’” Alexander MacLaren
“If we are born again of the same Holy Spirit and love the same Lord Jesus Christ and pray to the same Father in Heaven, then it only stands to reason (a fact that logically justifies some premise or conclusion) that we would be of the same mind.” Clifford D. Tate, Sr.
If you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ and His amazing healing power, pray this from your heart to the Lord Jesus Christ (you speaking directly to Him), Dear Lord Jesus, I confess to You that I am a sinner and I need Your forgiveness. I believe You shed Your Blood and died for my sins. I believe that You rose from the dead proving that You alone are God. I repent of my sins. I want to turn from my sins. I ask You Dear Lord Jesus to come into my heart and take control of my life. I want You to be my Lord, Savior, and my God. Amen...
Sincerely in Christ,
Clifford D. Tate, Sr.
Author of “Silent Assassins of the Soul - Are you Broken by Pornography and Masturbation? You can be Restored by the Lord Jesus Christ and brought into Deliverance, Freedom, and Victory! A Guide for Men and Women in the Enemy’s Crosshairs” e-book available now @ Amazon Kindle, @ Apple I Bookstore for IPod, Barnes and Noble for Nook, Reader Store for Sony Reade, Kobo, Copia, Gardners, Baker and Taylor, and eBookPie…