GOSPEL Dashboard: Warrior (Romans 12:12)


There are very, very few who know what it is like to be in the rage of war.

  • Military becomes more than a people mass, but a brotherhood, a family like no other bc of what you have been equipped to do and what you must endure together.
  • War prepares you to be vigilant for any surprise circumstance or emergency challenge.
  • War can be boring for hours on end and quickly turn to intense rapid fire that is life-changing.
  • War experiences sickening sights and screams of humanity. It is a noise that echoes in the ears and mind.
  • War surrounds you with smoke blasts, raging fire, hemorrhaging blood, and piercing pain.
  • War causes you to face the corpses of strangers and casualties of friends.
  • War causes you to be real, raw, and even hardened to life’s trivialities.
  • The dominant tone of war veterans is somberness and sobriety because they have seen both the toughness and tenderness of life.

And sometimes life is war. While many of us may not know the sight/sense of war, the smoke of affliction will eventually blow our way. There are seasons of hardship and suffering that will come, and we must be prepared and prayed up.

Today’s message seeks to accomplish two actions

  1. Advancing GOSPEL Dashboard
    1. GOD: God is glorious  / We are worshipers.
      Romans 11:36 “To God be the glory forever. Amen.”
    1. OTHERS: We are family
      Romans 12:9, 18 “Let love be genuine… live peaceably with all.”
    1. SPIRITUAL GROWTH: We are thermostats.
      Romans 12:6 “having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them…”
    1. PRAYER: We are spiritual warriors.
      Romans 12:12 “Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.”
    1. EVANGELISM: We are sent.
      Romans 10:15 “How beautiful are the sent feet who preach good news”
    1. LEGACY: We are growing godly generations.
      Romans 16:27 “to the only wise God be glory forevermore through Jesus Christ! Amen.”

*GOSPEL Dashboard tool.

2. Provide a necessary perspective for all of life. We are spiritual warriors/champions fighting on our knees. Our weapons are Scripture and prayer. Our brand isn’t following trends but timeless truth with tangible application of faith, hope, and love. Christian faith is not simply important but indispensable. Something that is simply important can be substituted every now and then; but something that is indispensable is without any alternative. Faith and prayer are not supplemental but fundamental & indispensable to life.

Christian faith is not simply important but indispensable. Something that is simply important can be substituted every now and then; but something that is indispensable is without any alternative. Faith and prayer are not supplemental but fundamental and indispensable to life.

EXAMINE     Prayer: We are warriors / champions

  • Romans 12:12 “Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.”
  • τῇ ἐλπίδι χαίροντες; τθλίψει πομένοντες; τπροσευχ προσκαρτεροντες  

Text Observations

  • Verbs are plural:
    • Romans 12:1 “brothers & sisters, present your bodies [plural] as a living sacrifice.”
    • Rom 12:12 everyone rejoice/be patient, be constant.
    • In other words, the Christian life is meant to be operated in community and commitment to local church membership. It’s the local church where we learn and live out gathering in faith, growing in hope, and going in love. If we are to weather the storms of life and the sea of cultural change, then we must not be islands but connected inland. Solo warriors do not fare well long-term, but well-allied armies last and are often victorious.
  • Verbs are present active: indicates ongoing action, not giving up. The Christian life is about rhythms, repetition, and renewal. It’s not giving up or stepping away but leaning in.

Let’s reflect on Romans 12:12 for 3 faith actions for when life is war.

Because of Christ, we can be confident in hope

Apart from Christ, the early church had little to be joyful or hopeful. There was persistent persecution, tireless trials, and frequent suffering. Paul knows Roman church could easily be distracted or deterred from being a living sacrifice for Christ. They need a reminder to stand firm and keep moving forward. Biblical hope is the only thing that can ground us and keep us going each day (cf. Romans 5:2; 7:24; 8:24-25, 31-39).

Illus: When we speak of Jesus Christ as our daily hope it’s exponentially greater than saying “I hope my sport team wins,” or, “I hope tomorrow is a good day,” or “I hope you enjoy the meal.” Human hope is uncertain and circumstantial. Instead, biblical hope is confident.

  • We don’t need to hesitant hope the sun will rise; it just does bc God created the world with a sense of order and sovereignty.
  • We don’t need to hesitant hope that God will answer prayer. God is a prayer-hearing God, and He answers every time. Now, God does not always give us the answer we want. Sometimes the answer is YES, other times NO, and others NOT YET. But God always answers prayer and prayer always works bc God works all things together for our good.
  • We don’t need to hesitant hope that there’s an afterlife. Jesus showed us there is life after death with his 3-day dead resurrection.
  • Therefore, biblical hope is certain and confident because it is centered in the person and promise of Jesus. 

Throughout Romans, Paul is telling us to hang on to hope.
For what are we hopeful?                                                                   

  • A reconciled heart.
    “Through Christ we have obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God… and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us” (Rom 5:2, 5)
    • In Christ, we are forgiven of sin, cleansed from guilt, comforted over shame, and strengthened over fear.
    • In Christ there are second chances, fresh starts and new beginnings, wholeness, and onward maturity.

  • A restored creation.
    “For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God…” (Ro 8:19-22; cf 2Pt 3:13; Rev 21).
    • Saved unto a world without sickness (doctors or dentists!), disasters (whether natural like tornadoes or floods, or human caused like racism/murder/manipulative people or prideful foolish leaders), disease (dementia, mental illness), dying and death (funerals). Instead, we will feast in the new creation with table fellowship around the tree of life (Rev 2:7).

  • [Hope of] A renewed body
    “And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies” (Ro 8:23).
    • Right now many of us have body of a god – Buddha… but in heaven, our bodies will be without anguish or agony, and be imperishable (1Cor 15:53).

  • A redeemed life circumstances

“For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us… And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose” (Rom 8:18, 28)

  • Wrongs, regrets, sorrows will all be made right.

  • A remarkable God.
    “the only wise God be glory forevermore through Jesus Christ! Amen.” (Rom 16:27)
    God’s glory is our satisfaction.
  • In all, hope is the soil for joy to grow; we lack joy because we lack the hope of heaven.
  • Read on topic of Heaven.[1]
  • “Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.” Colossians 3:2

Hope is the soil for joy to grow.

Because of Christ, we can be calm in pressure.

Paul’s reference to tribulation is unique in this passage as it reflects the normal experience in the Christian life. If you are not experiencing trials, then just wait a few days/weeks/months; they are coming. Tribulation is typical for those who follow Jesus Christ as Lord. Amid living for Jesus and loving others we will experience sorrow and suffering. 

John 16:33 “In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”

Acts 14:22 “Through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God.”
2 Timothy 3:12 “All those who want to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.”

Illus[2]: Many people use a probe timer when they cook meat. This tool is designed to be pushed and probed deep into the meat, so as it heats up, the rising temperature registers with the thermometer. When the meat is fully cooked, the outside of the thermometer pops up, and you know the meat is done. But – this only works if the thermometer is pushed deep into the inner core of the meat. No one sane likes to eat raw meat! So, you must push the probe deep to feel the heat and pressure.
Likewise, many people are waiting for God to “pop-up” and grant them positive happenings and removal of problems. But what they don’t realize is that God is waiting for you to be fully cooked. He’s waiting on you to be “complete” and “mature,” which only comes through heat and pressure.

Deep down, we all know patience isn’t always pleasant but it is vital to the Christian life. In our problems and pain God calls us to patience. The word ὑπομένοντες means to remain steadfast and stand one’s ground, instead of fleeing. It means to persevere and endure, so patience isn’t passive but active, especially during trials.

How are we to be actively patient in tribulation?

  • Focus on and obey the old.
    Often when tribulation comes, we become so frantic and fearful of the world around us that we lose our faith. We get distracted and grow distant from God. We stop obeying the simple and basic commands of God that we know we should obey. So, in tribulation we need to focus on the fundamentals of our faith.
    • Bible Reading & Journaling.
    • Worship in community.
    • Confessing sin and obedience to simple things like the fruit of the Spirit.

  • Prepare for the new.
    Sometimes God allows tribulation to occur to bring about change. The changes could be in your character, or they could be in your circumstances. During tribulation, you will need personal discernment and wise friends/counselors to help you navigate what sort of changes God wants to bring into your life.

    Psalm 27:14 “Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord.”
    Isaiah 43:19 “Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.”

Often, when tribulation comes, we become frantic and fearful that we lose our faith. We get distracted and grow distant from God. We stop obeying simple and basic commands of God that we know we should obey. So, in tribulation we need to focus on the fundamentals of our faith.

“Waiting for God is not laziness. Waiting for God is not going to sleep. Waiting for God is not the abandonment of effort. Waiting for God means, first, activity under command; second, readiness for any new command that may come; third, the ability to do nothing until the command is given.”[3]

Because of Christ, we can be continuing in prayer.

Paul’s third exhortation to the Romans during tribulation is to be constant in prayer. Paul’s word “προσκαρτεροντες” = constant/devoted/faithful, and suggests not only resolve in regular prayer, but intensity amid adversity.[4]

Two examples of this type of praying would be

  1. Jesus praying through the night (cf. Lk 11:8; 18:1-8; 22:46).
  2. Disciples waiting in prayer for Holy Spirit (cf. Ac 1:14).

This involved “a different attitude and manner of prayer from those customary in contemporary Judaism, which had fixed hours and patterns of prayer.”[5] Prayer in the Christian community expresses a deep devotion, vitality, and power like no other religion because it connects one to the presence of Almighty God.

Photo by SHVETS production on Pexels.com

While Christians are commanded to be constant and without ceasing in prayer, that does not mean all you do is sit in a dark room with eyes closed and folded hands. Devoted to prayer is similar to being devoted to a spouse.[6] Generally, spouses don’t spend every waking moment of every day together, but every decision and motivation is influenced from their devotion to one another.

So, NT persistent praying implies

1) Scheduled prayer. “At daybreak, LORD, you hear my voice” (Ps 5:3)

2) Spontaneous prayer. Col 4:2 “devotedly”; 1Thess 5:17 “w/o ceasing”

3) Solitude prayer: Daniel (Da 6:10), Jesus (Mt 14:23, etc.)
4) Squad prayer: Disciples in sending of Spirit (Acts 1:14), selecting leaders (Acts 1:24; 6:6), sending missionaries and strengthening churches (Acts 13:1-3). God has much work to do through His church but is waiting for His people to rely upon Him and not their own strength. 

“Next to the wonder of seeing my Savior will be, I think, the wonder that I made so little use of the power of prayer.”[7] 

Some ways we pray at SPBC

  • Prayer email
  • Elders pray monthly 2nd Thursday.
  • House Of Prayer Nights
  • Gospel Family Groups…
  • Sunday gatherings select / and every week at altar!


  • Salvation starts with a prayer to God… Jesus says, “come.”
  • When we understand life is war, we will pray. God can do more in 1 second than we can on own in 1 year.
    Pray! Pray devotedly and desperately.
  • Come to the altar of God and pray for our nation to experience the redemption, reconciliation, and revival.  

[1] https://growinggodlygenerations.com/2017/09/19/on-heaven/

[2] Illus from Tony Evans Book of Illustrations: “Waiting.” 338–339.

[3] G. Campbell Morgan, recounted in The Ministers Manual edited by Lee McGlone (Jossey Bass), p.478.

[4] https://biblehub.com/greek/4342.htm

[5] Gerhard Kittel, Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, p. 619.

[6] Illustration from John Piper, http://www.desiringgod.org/messages/be-devoted-to-prayer.

[7] D.L. Moody quotes.

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