*Below is Pastor Andrew’s teaching outline from Sunday’s sermon, not a word for word manuscript. This is meant as aid in seeing the thought and direction of the sermon.
I. Towards those Within the Church (9-13)
Romans 12:9–13 ESV
Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.
Genuine Love is the overarching theme of the remainder of this text it is heartbeat of Christ:
John 13:34 ESV
A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.
And Paul gives definition to this important truth in 1 Cor.
1 Corinthians 13:1–7 ESV
If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing. Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
A love for God and neighbor is one that is pure and genuine, it flows from the love of God towards us and motivates us to live out the faith well.
With love for one another rooted in Christ we can see the beauty and the joy in the midst of the remainder of the text:
A. Abhor Evil (Cling to the good)
1 Thess 5:21-22 “but test everything; hold fast what is good. Abstain from every form of evil.”
Philippians 4:8 ESV
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.
B. Love the Church
-The Greek has the sense of family love: we are a new family and out lives should reflect that.
The honest reality of this text is Church as family. Not a pithy saying but a heart felt reality.
-Paul’s admonition is to take the family of God seriously in our love and unity. We love with a brotherly affection, not a passive affiliation.
The church should be different than any organization you are apart of, it should look differently to the outside world and it should seek to build one another up in a way that is foreign to others.
(ill. family is just different)
But in this family there is a different kind of competitiveness, we don’t seek to outdo each others achievements but rather to out do one another is encouragement:
C. Out Do one another
-Honoring one another has the idea of making much of the gifting and work of others over oneself. it is a purposeful selflessness. Not in a way that is dishonest (we don’t lie to people, that is not honoring, but rather encouraging and building one another up)
Philippians 2:3–4 ESV
Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.
-When was the last time you told someone how appreciative you are of their role in your life, and not in a passing way but an actual honest assessment of the ways they give of themselves. While not seeking a similar refrain
-We don’t look to build people up so they can reciprocate, but rather so they Lord can be glorified. Humility doesn’t mean we can’t accept honor, but that we know all the honor we receive is a gift from God for his Kingdom.
Not only does it carry the weight of appreciation but also of respect, we don’t look down on one another in the church, not one is less than us but all deserving of respect as God’s children.
-We live in a self focused age that often leaves people feeling unappreciated for the work and service they do, and as believers we should be looking out for one another all the more because we are family.
in so doing we continue to push one another forward towards Christ.
From our opening verses of encouragement of live together we continue now in the spirit of living out the faith well: With a 2 sets of threes:
D. Serve w/Zeal
1st Trifecta: don’t be slothful, be fervent, serve the Lord
Now zeal can be a positive or negative thing depending on it is used
This has the idea of fire for the Lord and honoring him as we serve:
Zeal can scare people it can seem to lack control , But the zeal Paul is talking about is that holy fire that motivates us to live out the faith:
Think of the overflowing love for God when you first got saved, that desire for others to know and see the beauty of God’s love. that passion to serve where the church had availabilities.
the zeal of the spirit is not unbridled but purposeful it seeks to serve the Lord
It fits within the confines of the remainder of the text. (Zeal is not pompous, it is not self serving, it is not arrogant, it is humble)
It seeks to serve the Lord and love His people.
E. Rejoice, Be Patient, Pray
2nd trifecta: speaks to how we deal with life: We rejoice, we are patient, we are in prayer
Our Hope is Christ (no mater what happens in God or bad we rejoice in the hope of the Gospel)
-Not some far fetch wistfulness but a grounded hope based on the reality of Christ salvific work not hope for hopes sake.
Our patience has an eternal focus
-Trials come and go but we know that God is good in all things, Trials bring sadness pain and suffering, but we look forward to the hope of Christ. We are patient through these tribulations knowing that God is the one at work:
Our prayer reveals a constant trust in the Lord (Trials seem to be a great catalyst for Prayer)
Pauls’ similar instruction on this in 1 Thess. is quiet famous:
1 Thessalonians 5:16–19 ESV
Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Do not quench the Spirit.
F. Care for each other’s Needs
Acts 2:44–45 ESV
And all who believed were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need.
G. Be hospitable
1st century hospitality is not the same as what we think of today. We think of having friends over, sharing a meal together. maybe a game night. But in the 1st century it had a lot more to do with welcoming people into your home to stay much like an inn.
1st century inns were a hot mess
people usually slept in the town square or street while traveling.
Here Paul’s admonition is to take them out of the streets and welcome them into your home. All the more those of the faith.
For us this may look different but the heart of it is to care for each other as we go provided food and shelter when needed and seeking to support one other well.
From the inside now Paul deal with how we deal with others:
(lots of debate on these divisions)
II. Towards Those Outside the Church (14-21)
Romans 12:14–21 ESV
Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
Again the genuine love of believers grounded in Christ goes outward:
The first command when dealing with those outside the church is to bless those who persecute us:
The Words of Christ:
Matthew 5:44 ESV
But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,
Luke 6:27–28 ESV
“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 abuse you.
Luke 23:34 ESV
And Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” And they cast lots to divide his garments.
Acts 7:60 ESV
And falling to his knees he cried out with a loud voice, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” And when he had said this, he fell asleep.
This is a hard command for most to work through. The calling of God on our lives is to bless those who persecute, along with a command to refrain from curses:
In this we are being told to seek the good of those who hate us.
Paul is a great example of one who was there when Stephen was stoned, would have heard his cry of forgiveness. He then harshly persecuted the church, and yet received the mercy of God.
Who around us harasses and tries to extinguish the joy of the lord in us. When persecution comes is our first reaction one of love. is it one that seek to pray that God would bless them.
There is a pull in this opening text that Paul will flesh out in minutes, but this again is not a new command but a reflection of the teachings of Christ and modeled in Him.
B. Rejoice & Weep
We are to be people of Compassion and sympathy:
We rejoice with those who rejoice
-Seems easy enough except when we are not feeling very joyful, or when the good news for them is bad news for us
-Someone gets a promotion you didn’t do you rejoice in that moment with them or become bitter and angry
We weep with those who weep
-We get down into the sadness of life with others. We feel their pain and bring the compassion of Christ.
-Working with youth (Their problems at times seem so minor and yet ground shattering to them, because it is the hardest thing they have experienced)
-We weep with people showing the love and grace of God,
-This topic somehow has become controversial in the last few years as if to sit. You don’t have to agree with people to have compassion on them and show the love of Christ towards them.
-David mourned over the death of Saul
-Both theses truths are all the more true in the church, but here we cans see them as the tools of Christ outside the church as well.
C. live in Harmony
-the opening of Verse 16 seems to harken back to the church calling all believers again to have this mind set.
-This call is for us to be of the same mind (which Paul says in Phil. 2 is the mind of Christ and humility)
-The harmony here is one that seeks agreement, it seeks unity, Even in disagreement there can be a spirit of charity and love. It does not seek to win. thus the admonition to not be haughty.
D. Don’t be Proud
-You are not better than anyone else.
-Do people not go to help at Volunteer way because of the people they are helping: (Those people)
-Do you look down on people of different social classes, positions at work, interns
-Are there certain people you wouldn’t want to be around, that you think you are better than
-from ash to ash dust to dust
-All we have has come from God you are no better than they, all the more if they are a part of the family of God
E. Don’t be Arrogant
-So once again Paul reminds us not to be wise in our own eyes
-similar to last week’s to not think to highly of ourselves.
We can be wrong, we are not God and we don’t have it all figured out.
One who is wise in their own eyes is one incapable of receiving instruction, there is nothing new for them to learn and nothing new for them to be challenged by because every thought has an answer every mystery a solution and then in the end are the arbiter of those solutions.
They tend to talk much and listen little for they have no desire to hear.
Proverbs 3:7 ESV
Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord, and turn away from evil.
Isaiah 5:21 ESV
Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes, and shrewd in their own sight!
When coming to the texts ahead we often can be wise in our own eyes. The plain reading of these texts are quickly matched with lots of caveats as to why they don’t mean what they say, or why they have the true exceptions to these words.
Rather than admitting that we fail and sin, and need repentance in these areas we simply rework what the words of Christ mean in our own selves to justify the behavior we want to do, thus believing to absolve ourselves of God’s commands and becoming wise in our own eyes we fall.
We must be people who see God’s commands as supreme and him as sovereign if we are to truly be able to submit to his Word, for from here we are called to take the high road and never repay evil for evil
The concluding commands reminds us how easy it is to let the world lead us astray.
Romans 12:17–21 ESV
Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
F. Always take the High Road
We don’t return the evil done to us on others:
Matthew 5:38–39 ESV
“You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.
1 Peter 3:9 ESV
Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing.
In Reflecting on Christ himself
1 Peter 2:23 ESV
When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly.
Rather we are to do the honorable thing, seeing to do what is right.
(In the sight of all does not mean to the approval of society, but rather that which everyone knows to be good)
-It has the focus of thoughtful attention to do the right thing in spite of being mistreated.
Peter in his epistles states that even sinners give glory to God when we live out these truths:
1 Peter 2:12 ESV
Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation.
People know right from wrong whether they choose to admit it or not.
G. Live Peaceably
-And as we seek to do good we strive to live at peace. The focus is that we will have peace but that we will not be the cause of strife.
-As much as it depends on you. Battles may come but let them come don’t be seeking them out.
-God is Sovereign
H. Trust in God & overcome evil w/good
Deuteronomy 32:35 ESV
Vengeance is mine, and recompense, for the time when their foot shall slip; for the day of their calamity is at hand, and their doom comes swiftly.’
We can pray for God’s justice to be done, but we do not break the peace. We trust in God’s vengeance and sometimes he uses human actors for this cause, but we are not motivated to seek out such vengeance.
We turn or trials and persecutions over to God while showing the hope we have in Christ.
-Everyone who persecutes the saints of God church can find salvation through repentance and believe and God calls us to be the instruments of proclaiming that truth.
-The blood of the martyrs is the seeds of the church is based on the way they lived and how they died in peace and humility.
-We are here instructed to be the best of people to those who treat us wrongly:
Proverbs 25:21–22 ESV
If your enemy is hungry, give him bread to eat, and if he is thirsty, give him water to drink, for you will heap burning coals on his head, and the Lord will reward you.
Therefore we overcome the evils of this world with the Good work of Christ in us. Not seeking to make much of ourselves but to make much of Him alone.
And If we truly believe that he is Sovereign that no plan of his is thwarted, that all things come to pass by his word and purpose. The even the trials of the day are light and momentary compared to the glory he has in store for us. These days will ass quickly from our thoughts in light of his glorious plans.