We just love asking this question after Easter – WHAT NOW?
It’s a question we ask ourselves in the most crucial and important moments of our lives: when we graduate, when we graduate again, when we get a job we’ve wanted but are a little scared to start it, when we get sick, if and when we get better, when we run into money, when we run our of money. We ask ourself this question because we are living in a new reality.
If there is one thing about Easter we must see, it’s that because of the death and resurrection of Jesus, we can live in a new reality. Something has gotta be different in light of that truth. The resurrection isn’t a moment in history, but a movement to launch us forward.
Take a look at a few NT verses that do that…
- Phil 3…I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11 and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.
- Col 3…you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above
- Acts 4…With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And God’s grace was so powerfully at work in them all 34 that there were no needy persons among them.
We should always be asking this question “What looks different, what is NEW in me because of Easter, because of Jesus’ death & resurrection?”. You see, Resurrection is not exclusively what happens after we are buried, it has to do with the way we live right now.
With that in mind, we look at Romans 12.
The first 11 chapters of Romans are foundational to the letter and to faith. From chapter 12 onward we have the practical implications of the theology Paul is piecing together.
We read these profound words in verses 1-3: Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you.
Paul begins this section by urging the Roman Christians to have God’s compassion and mercy as their view, their lens, what they look at life through – and in light of that he encourages them and us to be transformed.
What does this transformation look like? He goes on to unpack it in quite detail, speaking about things like humility, love, hospitality, peace, good works, blessing, etc.
Romans 12:2 can be summed up like this:
- Stop Confirming
- Start Transforming
- Continue Renewing
- Begin understanding & living God’s will
As the transformation starts to happen in us, it effects our decisions, which effects how we live. Maybe it looks something like this:
- Minds that are renewed start to make different and new decisions
- New decisions lead to a new life
- New life leads to understanding God’s will
- God’s will is more about who you are then what you do
- But what you do inevitably comes from who you are
This phrase has always helped me when thinking about how my life must look different…Christianity (Following Jesus) is definitely not about DO’s & DONT’s, but eventually you will be faced with decisions that involve something you do and something you don’t.
We ask the What Now question once again. Does my life look different because of Jesus, his death, and resurrection?
A thoughtful read of Romans 12:9-21 shows us that Paul doesn’t just talk about transformation (resurrection life), he actually spells it out for us. We could summarize his thoughts with these 6 words. Rather, we’ll finish this sentence: Resurrection people are people who…
– Love (authentically)
– Extend (themselves through hospitality)
– Bless (those who hurt them)
– are Present (in good and bad times)
– value Peace
– do Good (cf. Eph 2:10)
May we live lives that reflect the life of Jesus. May our lives look different because of his resurrection. May we be people who make a difference, who make noise, in the way we love, extend ourselves, bless others, are present, make peace, and do good.
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Have there been some WHAT NOW moments in your life? Wanna share?
What are some things that resonate with you from this theme and Romans 12?
After reading Romans 12:2-3 How would you respond?
– What does transformation look like to you?
– What does it mean to not conform?
– What is God’s will? Is His will a line you walk or a field you live in?
What kind of characteristics are evidence of this transformed/resurrection life Paul is talking about?
Out of the words we used to summarize, which ones come easy, which ones are more difficult to live out?
As you close your discussion, pray that our community (and other churches) would live lives that loudly proclaim the love of Jesus in real and tangible ways.