continue listening to God's word in the book of Romans and today we're listening to Romans  12. verses nine through 21. Love must be sincere, hate what is evil, cling to what is good. Be  devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another, above yourselves. Never be  lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope. patient in  affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with God's people who are in need. practice hospitality.  Bless those who persecute you bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice, mourn  with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to  associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited. Do not repay anyone evil for evil.  Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. If it is possible, as far as it depends on  you. live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge my friends, but leave room for God's  wrath for it is written, it is mine to avenge I will repay says the Lord. On the contrary, if your  enemy is hungry, feed him, if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will  heap burning coals on his head. Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil, with good,  This ends the reading of God's Word and God always blesses His Word to those who listen. I  almost called this sermon, a checklist for Monday. Because we sometimes associate church  and Christianity with things that happen on Sunday, and the things we do on Sunday  gathering in a place of worship with other people, listening to preaching, singing praises,  celebrating the supper, and all the things that go together in Sunday observance. But those  Sunday things important, though they are, in many ways don't matter quite as much as  Monday. What happens when you're back into your regular day to day life? how do you live as  a follower of Jesus Christ on Monday through Saturday. That's where you really begin to see  whether the life of Christ is in you, and shining from you. So you can maybe take this  message as a checklist for Monday. Look at these words in Romans 12, again and again and  again, as a way of measuring and a way of guiding your life in the Lord Jesus Christ. Romans  teaches some great doctrinal truths and realities of what Jesus has done, and of what his Holy Spirit does in us, and of God's great plan for history, and about dedicating ourselves and  spiritual gifts. And then we come to this, which is really where we're going to be reflecting the life of Christ in our Monday life and the days that follow. So let's think about it in that light.  And the first thing that you read after having read about spiritual gifts is the word love. That's  exactly what the Apostle does. When he talks about spiritual gifts and the special abilities that we have from the Holy Spirit. When he's talking about it at much greater length in I  Corinthians, he talks about the gifts and gives a lot of detail. And then he says, I'll show you  the more excellent way if I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love. I'm  just a bunch of noise. And he goes on to write his great chapter about love. Love is patient  love is kind it does not envy and does not boast it is not proud, it is not rude. It's not self  seeking, keeps no record of wrongs. And he handles that, that passage spiritual gifts, the  abilities you have, are to be used in love. And love is the great guide for Christian living. Jesus Himself taught us love the Lord your God, above all, love your neighbor as yourself. And so if  you're going to understand what it means to live as a Christian on Monday, it's summarized  by love, in particular. Love truly, fiercely, warmly, that's the reality of love in action. And then  we're going to see the passion of living the Christian life be fired up and prayerful in the Lord,  inclusion. Welcome and help others. Togetherness where you feel as one, you think as one,  you are as one peace fights coming to an end because you refuse to continue fighting, and  instead want to be agreeable wherever you can. And grace that provides people with what  they need instead of seeking to punish them and get vengeance on them. And all of that  brings victory where good defeats evil and good doesn't defeat evil simply by crushing it but  by continuing to love, no matter what the powers of evil might throw at you. So let's look at  what God's Word says about this. Love must be sincere hate, what is evil, cling to what is  good be devoted to one another in brotherly love, honor one another, above yourselves. Love  must be sincere, literally without hypocrisy. Without a mask. I saw a meme this week. Men  socialize by insulting each other, but they don't really mean it. Women socialize by  complementing each other, but they don't really mean it either. Now, I don't know how much  truth there is in that like all generalizations, you could say, Well, that's so sexist, or that's so  this or that. So that but the fact is, some of us relate to others by insulting and joking around  or being sarcastic, but we don't really mean it. And yet, somehow we're a little more 

comfortable insulting them than we are actually saying things that would express how we  really feel about them. You know, I hear you know, I hear boys say, your trash, your garbage,  loser, loser, loser, and they don't mean any of it. That's just a sign that now they like each  other. But, you know, if they're tiptoeing around and being very cautious, in how they speak  about each other, then you know that at the very least, they're not comfortable with each  other yet. And so sometimes we insult each other without really meaning it, maybe, and  maybe that's a style of relating, it's okay, when you're joking around in good humor, but every so often, you might really want to say what you really think about somebody, if you like them, and say what you see in them, that's good, and praise them. And certainly, when it comes to  the compliments, don't just use it as a style of relating, and never really mean it. Oh, you're  gorgeous, You're fabulous. You're wonderful. You know, if you say it, mean it love must be  sincere. And in all of this, we we're to take our, our power and our model from the Lord Jesus  Christ. If there was one thing that Jesus attacked most fiercely, and more often than anything  else, what would it be? I think it was hypocrisy, where again and again and again, he rails at  some of the finest people for being hypocrites. And so we're called to love without hypocrisy  to love, sincerely. And as we love real love has an element of hate in it. That sounds kind of  strange. But isn't it odd that right after you're told to love sincerely, you're told, Hate. Hate is  an aspect of love. Because if you really love somebody, you want what's best for them and  you hate whatever harms them, whatever spoils life for them, sometimes even if they don't  know it. And so, love hates what is evil, love holds on hard and, and Cleaves and clings to  what's good. And then we're to be devoted to one another in brotherly love, honor one  another above ourselves. So when I say love, truly, that means love without hypocrisy without pretense, say what you really mean and express yourself, speak the truth, in love. You love  fiercely where you want what's good for somebody. So sometimes you do have to help them  to understand what in their life is ruining their life and where you hate the things that are  ruining your life as well. You learn to hate sin, and you learn to love what's healthy and good.  And you love warmly devoted in brotherly love or family love people are family to you and  you feel this warm affection towards them. And a major part of that, too, is honor one  another, above yourselves. Now, in one sense, that doesn't sound terribly realistic. There are  other parts of the Bible that says that say consider others better than yourself. It may be even if you wouldn't say it's literally true that everybody's better than you. You know, do you go  around all day, every day saying everybody's better than me. Everybody's better than me.  Everybody's better than me. It's probably not true. You know, when it comes to sports, there's got to be somebody worse than you. You know, when it comes to homeliness, there's got to  be Somebody out there uglier than you. When it comes to IQ, there's got to be somebody on a lower rung of the ladder than you are, you know, somebody who's not as good in school, you  know, it's got to be somebody lower all the time. Now, given that fact, you can take the  Pharasee approach, and you can say, God, I thank you that I am not like others. And then you  point to all those others and say, Whoo! I'm not like that. In fact, I'm a cut above and honor  one another, above yourselves may not mean going around repeating to yourself all the time  that I'm inferior to everybody else. But it is a corrective to the natural tendency to think that  I'm, well, quite a bit better than most other people. And in any given situation, no, leave aside whether I'm better than the billions of people who are out there. In my particular situation,  what is my most likely tendency to honor myself above others, and to see my own point of  view, and not see how they are experiencing life. I'll give you a somewhat embarrassing  example from my own life. We were on vacation recently, we had a great time in Glacier.  Eleven of our family members and friends were out there together in Glacier Park. And, you  know, on a Tuesday, Sarah got engaged above one of the most beautiful lakes in the park.  And so, you know, that was a beautiful day. And then at the end of the day, we got to our  cabin, and it was a fantastic place and a couple of them right away, they shot for the canoe  and they were gone. And others grabbed the board game and the board game took off.  Everybody's having a high old time. Somebody's got to cook. Okay, and it was left to poor old  me. Of course, I didn't even notice the others who were also working. But I was laboring at the grill first, the whole batch of chops, because we had hiked along ways that day, and so made  all the chops and everybody vroom, they're all gone. Then I made all the burgers, zoom, 

they're all gone. Now they weren't all gone. But they were all full and I hadn't eaten yet. And I  was thinking to myself, what a rather heroic and sacrificial martyr I am. You know that here's  all these self centered people running off having a high old time and leaving it to poor old dad to do everything. And then I thought, I think this is probably what my wife feels like every day. Or maybe not what she feels like every day. But what she does every day, she's probably a lot more heroic than I am and not feeling that way. Because it's kind of a new experience to me.  

But you see the difficulty. That's why you aren't you really need to work hard to honoring  others above yourselves. Because I take it for granted. She just does that every day. That's  what she does. And my job is to eat it. Okay, that's that's just how life works. And if the shoe  was put on the other foot for 20 minutes, it pinches Now, this is true in for almost all of us in  almost every area of our life where we see with absolute crystal clarity, the heroic lengths to  which we're going to make life better for others. And in which we're almost blind to the things  that other people are doing that benefit us. Honoring one another above yourself means  taking notice of what they're doing, and maybe of how they're feeling and maybe noticing you really need to dial back a little bit your own self hero worship. So love truly fiercely warmly  and remember the difficulty of seeing things from others point of view and honor them more  than you're going to honor yourself. Passion, be fired up and prayerful. Never be lacking in  zeal but keep your spiritual fervor serving the Lord be joyful in hope. patient in affliction,  faithful in prayer, passion, enthusiasm, energy is vital for all of us and for living the Christian  life in relation to others. We need to have a passion for God, or our love for others will soon  grow cold as well. When the Lord Jesus Christ was speaking to some of the churches in the  early chapters in the book of Revelation, He said to the church in Ephesus, you're doing a lot  of things right? But I have this against you. You've lost your first love. He said to the Church at Laodicea you are lukewarm. And it sickens me. That loss of zeal of spiritual fervor of joy and  excitement in the Holy Spirit can be a very deadly thing. And that's why it goes on to say now  be joyful in hope. If you're going to keep your joy going, you've got to focus on the hope of  the of the glory that God has prepared for those who love and you got to keep your eyes fixed on the future and what God has given you in the Lord Jesus Christ, you're going to have joy  when you have a living hope. When times are tough, be patient, be long suffering, keep on  keeping on. And in your prayer life be faithful, or maybe more literal translation would be  constant in prayer, or as Paul puts it elsewhere, pray without ceasing. That doesn't mean that  you're praying every second, but it means you're not a quitter, when it comes to your prayer  life, and that it means that you pray frequently, and that you don't give up on prayer. And this is, again, so vital for just the ongoing daily life of walking with the Lord. I just read this week,  something that saddened me very much. A lot of you know, perhaps who Joshua Harris is  what some of us knew one, Joshua Harris was related to people here, there's a more famous  one. He wrote a book called I Kissed Dating Goodbye. He was one of the poster boys of the  early homeschooling movement, and then was a pastor of a mega church. This past week, he  announced that he and his wife of 19 years are separating. And two days later, he announced  that I am not a Christian. Now, those of us who knew or admired his family or his own story  are, are very troubled by that kind of news where somebody gives up on his marriage, and in  fact, gives up on the Savior. And I don't know what all the factors are I just know the fact of  his announcements. But it is important to see how zeal and energy and joy and excitement  can just fade, and flop. And there is no antidote to that except to abide in Christ. You need to  stay connected to the vine, or you will end up dry and lifeless. And you need to be constant in prayer. It's not enough to have correct ideas, or correct practices, you need the living Lord  Jesus Christ active in your life. And above all, then that means to keep focused on the Lord  and get your joy from the hope he has in store for you. To get your strength from him to be  patient in time of affliction, and to be faithful or constant in prayer to Him, Jesus told one of  his famous parables. And the introduction to the parable is this, Jesus told this story, so that  they would continue in prayer and not give up. There was a certain man, a judge who feared  neither god nor man, he was a rotter he was just a no good, unjust judge, who didn't care  about anybody but himself. And there was a widow, who wanted justice against somebody  who had been wronging her. So she went to the judge, and he didn't care about that widow.  And he told her to get lost. So she comes again, and bugs him again. And she comes again, 

and bugs him again. And she comes again and bugs him again and finally the judge says, I  don't care about people. I don't care about God, but I want some peace and quiet. I'll give her  what she needs. So he did. And then God, the Lord Jesus says now if even a rotten judge will  do that, if somebody keeps asking him, what do you think your Father in heaven is going to  do? For those who cry out to him day and night? Jesus isn't saying God is an unjust rotter just  like that. It's in one of his how much more stories he's saying, if even an unjust judge will  come through? What about the righteous judge of all the earth he will come through for those  who keep praying to Him. And then at the very end, Jesus asked this question, nevertheless,  When the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth? You see how that question will He find faith on the earth is directly connected with whether they will continue constant in  prayer. If you stopped praying, it won't be that terribly long before your faith weakens and  fades. And so if you want to be fired up to the Lord, you need to continue constantly in prayer  and all of us are going through go through seasons of dryness, and not just of feeling like all  as well. We're all going to go through seasons of struggle, perhaps doubt, or certainly not  mountaintop wonders, high experiences all the time. We need To Be patient and affliction, but faithfulness in prayer, that doesn't mean that we're always flying in a cloud and maintaining  the same emotional level. And I've got to just find 14 More worship songs that really do it for  me, and get me pumped up again today. Now that's not there's nothing wrong with that.  Sometimes praising the Lord and listening to worship songs that really lift your heart will help  you in your spiritual zeal. But I'm saying there's just no button you can push to pump your  emotions and keep them pumped all day every day. But if you abide in Christ, you keep going  to him and keep seeking for him to restore your passion for the Lord. You see that right in the  middle. It says, Keep your spiritual fervor serving the Lord. Keep focused on him. Keep  focused on him. Don't stay focused on your importance, or your role. Sometimes you may  even have a prominent ministry role. That's one of the occupational hazards of being a  minister is if your congregation is doing well. Or if people are impressed by you, you think  things are going well, in your spiritual life that can be sometimes the most dangerous part of  your life is when outwardly The show is going well. And inwardly, you're shriveling up, and  dying. That's why Jesus would say again, and again, be careful to religious leaders, because  you can make it look, you can make the gravestones look great. But there's still a bunch of rot underneath. So again, to be genuine to be fired up to be prayerful is very key for a life that  serves the Lord on Monday, and not just on Sunday. Conclusion, welcome, and help others is  another vital part of true Christianity. Share with God's people who are in need. practice  hospitality, Bless those who persecute you, bless, and do not curse. Think again of the Lord  Jesus Christ. The Bible says though he was rich, yet for your sake, he became poor, so that  you through his poverty might become rich. So when he calls us to share with people in need, He's not calling us to do something he hasn't done. He shared literally everything. And he  calls us to be generous and have that same spirit of generosity that he had. And that included of course, being kind to others and generous with them. And practicing hospitality. You know,  hospitality, Jesus says, isn't just a matter of having your buddies over. It's not just a matter of  business lunches with those who can pay you back. It's not just a matter of having the friends  and family over on Sundays. He says, When you have a banquet, invite the poor, the blind,  the lame, those who can't pay you back. That's where real hospitality is starting to kick in.  Now we've we've sunk pretty low if we don't have hospitality, even towards those whom we  love, and who are close to us, but certainly, to be hospitable, to look for ways to connect with  those who are strangers, those who don't have advantages. That's a part of being like Christ  and having the life of Christ being expressed through us. Bless those who persecute you,  bless and do not curse. I'm going to hurry past that one. Because the apostle keeps saying  the same thing in different words, throughout this passage. And we'll focus on it more just a  little bit later. But again, just for inclusion. If you're blessing somebody who persecutes you,  you're including them in your circle of blessing, whether they want to be included or not.  You're just going to bless them back and not curse them, even if they're intent towards you is  wicked. And along with inclusion, very closely connected with that is togetherness. Where you feel with other people, where you think along the same lines. You try to get into the same  mind and, and simply you exist together as one. Rejoice with those who rejoice, mourn with 

those who mourn. Think again of the Lord Jesus Christ. When people were rejoicing, Jesus  rejoiced with them. He had a reputation as a partier partying with people who were  celebrating together mainly they were celebrating him. You remember his first miracle  recorded in the Gospel of John, where there's a big celebration going on, but the celebration is in jeopardy because they're running out of wine. So Jesus makes more so that the celebration  can continue throughout the week of celebration. Jesus also mourned with those who mourn,  he wept at the tomb of his friend Lazarus he mourned when he foresaw the future of  Jerusalem falling. Jesus had a great empathy of feeling with other people and that's an  expression of love when you share and enter into the feelings of other people. And this can  really be underestimated for for many of us we need to hear again these words as as a key  really, to blessing and pouring love into the lives of other people. In some ways it sounds  almost too easy. Oh, they're crying. Okay, I gotta go boo-hoo too. They're laughing Okay, time for me to laugh? Well, that's sometimes harder than it sounds. If your friend got the big  promotion and the huge raise, and you're still having trouble making ends meet, it gets a little hard to rejoice with those who rejoice over their excellent financial situation. If your friend has found the love of their life, and they're engaged and they're getting married. And you're still  single and wish you weren't, it's not always easy to just rejoice with the happy couple. If  someone else is in the bloom of health, and they're celebrating their birthday, and you've  been struggling with a chronic illness, it's not so easy to lift your mind from what you're going  through to celebrate with them. And on the other hand, if things are going well for you, it's  not always so easy to say, well, you know, I think I'll go visit the hospital. That's a really fun  place to be. And I think I person that I kind of know, but I do I really need to go to that wake or not, or drop in on that funeral. It's not the most cheery event. And do you know was I really  that close to them? I think the the advice columnist who said, If you wonder whether you  should go to a funeral, the answer is yes. You know, if you're wondering, you already have  your answer. But to mourn with those who mourn when your own life, you don't want to hear  about other people's troubles, because that might spoil the fun that you're having right now.  But be that as it may, if you really love people, when things are going well for them, you're  glad for them, when they struggle, you're sad for them. And sometimes, most of the time in  life, we kind of have mixed feelings. Because even when our life is going well we know  somebody for whom it's a struggle. And even when our life's a struggle, we know somebody  for whom it's going well. And if we really identify with one another, then we're always going to have at least some mix of those feelings together. You remember the story of Job's friends,  Job's friends did very well, wonderfully well, compared to many of us. They sat with Job for  seven days without saying a word, and just mourned with him after his life had fallen apart.  And the trouble came, of course, when they started opening their mouths. That's why I say  that, in some ways, this advice is very easy to follow, and yet very hard to follow. Because  when you're with somebody who's going through hard times, well, the first step is be with  them. Because sometimes we try to avoid and just stay away. Don't stay away, mourn with  those who mourn. But once we do get there, we get uncomfortable, and we would like to  make things better. One way of making things better is to try to help cheer them up. You  know, if they just lost their job, you say, well, at least you're alive. And maybe you'll get  another one someday. Well, yeah, but if they just lost their job, now's the time to say boy, you know, that's, that's rough and, and to mourn with those who mourn without trying to cheer  them up. When somebody is in mourning, don't try to cheer them up, just mourn with them,  and it'll do more good. Don't try to explain it, and offer some great wisdom that will make it  okay within the next couple of minutes now that they really understand your brilliant insight  on the subject. I'll give an example. I remember the day that our daughter died after six  months of being off and on a respirator being poked countless times by needles and all that  she went through. And one nice, well meaning person said to me, Well, I guess it's all for the  best. That was the day she died. Well, I know my theology well enough to know that in all  things, God works for the good of those who love him. You know, even the worst of things,  God will do his thing and bring something good. But you know, when your daughter has just  died, you might not want to hear well, it's all for the best. You might rather just have them be  sad when you're not you know I understood. I understood that I appreciate anybody who 

shows up and says anything. But you get what I'm saying sometimes the attempt to explain  or to have some words that somehow you're going to make it better. It's okay. You can't make  it better. But you can be there. That's what the Apostle is saying, Hey, if you can just be there  and feel with somebody, you can do a world of good again, that's an occupational hazard of  being a preacher because you kind of try to come up with a word or a statement. That's going to be at least of some help. And, and yet, very often just zipping it and, and mourning with  those who mourn is very crucial to togetherness, live in harmony with one another, do not be  proud but be willing to associate with people's low position, don't be conceited, that you can  have the problem of avoiding people because they're in kind of a miserable situation. You'd  rather steer clear, but you can also just have the problem of I'm too good for them. I've risen  to a higher level of society, there are entire civilizations that are built on this, the entire  civilization of India, and of the caste system is built on who fits into what layer and level of  society and not to pick on India, move to some other societies. And you'll find that there is a  caste system. British society for a lot of years had a caste system an allegedly Christian  society, in which people there was the nobles, and there was the commoners. And there were  the important people and, and then our each society gets its own levels. And Jesus said it  himself. He says, Now, you're not to be like the rest of the pagans. They've got the big shots  who like to parade about around and be important and exercise clout over other people. Don't you be like that? You the greatest among you, is the servant of all. And the apostle is just  reflecting the Master's teaching here. Don't be proud be willing to associate with people of low position, don't be conceited. And he says that right in the context of living in harmony with  one another. Live in harmony literally just means have the same mind together. Think  together, you've got the mind of the Spirit already. The apostle has taught that now, living in  harmony means being of the same mind. And how can you be of the same mind when you are a better species than your neighbor? When you are vastly superior to them? It just doesn't  work. Harmony depends on getting rid of pride. There's a story I like about a newly promoted  colonel in the army. And he was feeling pretty snazzy and pretty important after his  promotion. He was now a colonel and he was getting into his new office area. And he had his  desk and a nice landline phone sitting there right on his desk. And he was admiring his  marvelous situation as a colonel. When someone knocked at his door. He thought, well, I  better, you know, show them how important I truly am. So he picked up that landline phone  on his desk and started talking away. And he said, Yes, General, I'll get on it right away.  General, you bet General and the door opened and in came the private. So he hung up the  phone and he said, Okay, private, what is it that you would like? And the private said, Sir, I'm  here to hook up your phone. Well, sometimes, you know, when you're conceited, it backfires  on you a little bit, when you try to act more important than you really are. It doesn't work so  well. But even if you're not going to be embarrassed by doing something dumb like that. Just  remember, there's level ground at the foot of the cross. We're all created in God's image. We  all need desperately to be redeemed by the blood of Jesus Christ, every fellow believer has  been redeemed and purchased by that precious blood, and is a temple of the Holy Spirit of  God, and so we can't be conceited. And even if we know somebody else who doesn't yet have Christ, that's no grounds for conceit. The Apostle said to the Corinthians, what do you have  that wasn't given you? And if it was given to you, why do you boast as though it wasn't given  to you? So togetherness comes from feeling and thinking and being together as one without  pride and without division? And then peace? When there's a fight, be the first to stop it. Be  agreeable. Jesus said, you've heard that it was said eye for eye tooth for tooth pay back. But I  tell you Don't resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek turn to Him. The  other also. If someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let them have your cloak as well. If somebody forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. So Jesus is saying one way to  end fights, he says don't fight back. Don't repay anyone, evil for evil. Do what's right in the  eyes of everybody. Again, that's being agreeable, if possible, as far as it depends on you live  at peace with everyone. So that peace we think depends entirely on other people's ability to  get along with us. The apostle and Jesus himself are saying There is a way sometimes to put  an end to a fight and that it means just don't hit back. Don't keep fighting. If you're dealing  with a sibling and you're in a big fight, it's amazing what would happen if you didn't have to 

have the last word, or get in the last punch man that would just fizzle out would really ruin  things. If, if you were just quiet a few minutes longer, or didn't do back to them what they did  to you don't repay anyone evil for evil, do what's right in the eyes of everyone. And there, it's  recognized. Now sometimes it's just not possible that you're going to be at peace with  everyone, there's going to be people we're going to keep mistreating you, even if you don't  want to fight back. And you've got to deal with that wise. We have talked about that. In other  contexts, your goal in all of this is their shalom peace is shalom, their well being their health,  what's good for them. And it's not always good for somebody to just continue serving as their  punching bag. If someone is constantly abusive in a relationship, you may have to talk to  them straight and say, okay, for now, we need to be apart. And I'm not dealing with you  unless you change your ways. Not that I hate you. But this is not going to keep happening  because it's bad for me, and it's bad for you. So as far as it depends on you live at peace with  everyone. And that means quit fighting, don't just get involved in every fight. I think it also we may just as Christians want to re examine how quick we are on the trigger finger when it  comes to Facebook and other social media do you have to dive into every fight that  somebody brings up if somebody offers their opinion of the President or this political policy, or that you really have to share your brilliant opinion on it, you know, ahead of time that  probably at least half your readers are gonna get really ticked off at you, whatever you might  say. So maybe it would be best in a lot of context to just okay, I don't need to fight about that. You don't have to offer your opinion on every matter with everybody. There are times when  we do need to speak the word of God in situations where God calls us to do that. But there are many times where if you already know ahead of time, that speaking a word is going to get  somebody mad. Just don't go there. It's not as far as it depends on you live at peace with  everyone. And then Grace obviously is so key to God's love for us. It's also key to our love for  others. Bless those who persecute you bless and do not curse. Do not repay anyone evil for  evil, those things have already been said. Now the apostle really zooms in on that do not take  revenge, my friends, but leave room for God's wrath for its written it's mine to avenge, I will  repay says the Lord. On the contrary, if your enemy is hungry, feed him. If he's thirsty, give  him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head. Remember  what I said earlier about honoring one another? Well, the flip side of that is when you do want  to take revenge, you're always going to take more revenge than you should have. You call it  pay back. But it's not equal pay back. Almost always when we take matters into our own  hands to get revenge. We up it. If somebody hits me, I hit him harder. And I think that that's  the way to go. The Bible tells of Lamech, a man who composed the first poem that we know  of, in human history. The first song in human history is a song of celebration. I murdered  somebody da da dada da. That's that's a pretty sad comment on human history that the first  song or poem we ever know of is a celebration. A young man hit me and I killed him. If Cain is avenged seven times I get avenge 77 times. That's his glorious poetry. I hit back harder than  anybody can hit me. I was just reading this week in the book of Genesis and came again on  the story. Very sad story of how Jacob had his 12 sons and his one daughter Dinah. And Dinah  was raped. She was violated by a young man named Shechem. And yet Shechem was in love  with her. And so Shechem says, I want to marry her. I gotta marry that girl. So he begs and  begs his dad first and then they beg Jacob's family for approval of marrying Dinah until they  reach an agreement and so on. And But secretly, Jacob's sons, Simeon and Levi have other  plans in mind, and they go through and they murder Shechem they murdered his father. They murdered his brothers. They murdered his entire clan. They kill his whole village that's  payback. You hurt my sister. I just wiped out all of you and took all of your daughters and  wives. That's how human payback tends to operate. Sure, it was a terrible offense, but the  revenge was much, much, much worse than the original crime. And so when God tells us  don't take revenge, but leave room for God's wrath, he's saying there are some things that  you just have to leave to God, and you're not. And when you leave it to God, the next thing  you'll read, by the way, when you get beyond this chapter is God has appointed certain  people in positions of power, who bear the sword, and who do punish wrongdoers, so there is  a measure of punishment, even with within human history, but there are certain people  entrusted with that. And you're not the one. If you're a child, and you think it's your duty to 

get vengeance on your sibling, no, God has appointed your parents to be the punishers. And  you're gonna say, well, but they're not fair. They always favor my brother are they always  favor my sister? Now that's how it looks, from your point of view? Do you think you're more  just when you're the one inflicting the punishment? When we look at government, we say,  well, government seems to give unequal justice. Yeah, it's not perfect. But it's still probably  going to be better to have somebody who wasn't directly involved in the situation, measuring  out the punishment, rather than saying, I am going to deal out the punishment personally, to  those who've wronged me. When you read the story of David and his dealings with Saul, you  get a little better sense of what the Apostle's talking about here. David was hunted by Saul,  his father in law, and Saul kept trying to kill him. So finally, a day came when Saul went into a cave, and it was a cave where David, and his band were hiding in the back of the cave, and  they said, This is it. And this is his chance to kill Saul, and give him what he deserves. And  David refuses to do it. And then after Saul has left the cave, David shouts to him and says, I  could have hurt you. But I didn't. And then Saul is very embarrassed. And he says, You're a  better man than I am. Another time comes where David has the opportunity he sneaks right  into Saul's camp. And then he leaves with a couple of Saul's things. And then he says, I was  right there, I could have killed you. In fact, Abishai was advising him strike him, you know, I'll  take care of it. I'll kill that guy right now for you. And David says, No, you don't touch him. And once again, Saul is very embarrassed. He's got a heaping burning coals on his head. And yet,  after his embarrassment, he goes back to hunting David again, and trying to kill him. So you  could say it didn't work? You know, David turned the other cheek, David didn't take revenge,  David didn't kill the man who was hunting him and didn't work. Saul just kept at it. But at the  end of the story, Saul is dead. And David is king. Because God took care of it. And the apostle  is saying, you've got to leave room for God to take care of the judgment, business, the  punishment, business is too much for you to handle, and too much for you to handle fairly. It's mine to avenge. There is a day of judgment coming, everybody's going to get what they  deserve. Do you really want to hasten the process or pretend that you're God, If you're acting  in love you can have confidence that God is going to come through and God is going to get rid of his enemies, he'll do it in one of two ways. He's going to do it by turning them into his  friends, which is the preferable option, or by punishing them with terrible and eternal fire. And so when you look at the situation, do you say, I want them to suffer that terrible, eternal fire?  And if I have anything to do about it, I'd like to hasten them on the way there. No, once you  understand that vengeance is God's you say, Lord, you pray for your enemies, that the Lord  will rescue them from that terrible punishment. And so as God has given His grace to us and  rescued us from His just punishment, we pray that he will do so and in the meantime, it is not  our job, to be the punishers. It is our job to be the prayers, the forgivers the ones who when  they're hungry, feed them when they're thirsty, give them something to drink. And when you  do that, you have already won. When you seek revenge, you're simply adding evil to the evil  that already exists. When you keep on loving, sometimes you win somebody over, and even  when you don't win them over, you have remained true to who you are as God's child. And so  good defeats evil by continuing to love the passage begins, love must be sincere hate what's  evil, cling to what's good. How do you overcome evil? Well, you don't do it by repaying people evil for evil. Do not be overcome by evil. but overcome evil with good. The Lord Jesus Christ  bore terrible wrongdoing and evil against himself. He was crucified. And even as he was  dying, he said, Father, forgive them, for they don't know what they're doing Christ died for us  while we were still his enemies. And that is how he overcame evil by the power of His death  and resurrection. And that is how we overcome evil by living in the power of Christ's death, by dying to ourselves by dying to sin by dying to our need, for payback and revenge. And  instead, continuing to love. The Holy Spirit comes to convert, not simply to condemn, Jesus  said, I did not come into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world. And that's our goal then too when we're in Christ, where we're more than conquerors. The apostle already  said that earlier in this letter, we're more than conquerors through him loved us. And so when  we love like him, we continue to be more than conquerors. And we live in his victory. Do not  be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. Tomorrow is Monday. Tomorrow is Monday,  Sunday is going to end on Monday, you might want to check back into Romans 12. Listen to it.

And then by God's grace, and the power of the Holy Spirit lives by this checklist for Monday,  for love in action. We thank You, Father, for the great gift of your son for the blood that makes  us yours for the Spirit who puts your life inside us. And we pray that more and more that life  may truly shine from us without hypocrisy and pretense, without pride and without the things  that separate us without a desire for revenge, but rather Lord, with true togetherness, with  with true warmth and affection with true grace and inclusiveness with a desire Lord to see  none perish but all come to a knowledge of the truth even as that's the desire of your own  heart and soul. Lord, may your heart more and more fill our hearts with the love of the Lord  Jesus Christ. We pray in His name. Amen.

Modifié le: lundi 17 janvier 2022, 09:52