As we continue though these last chapters of Romans, Paul gives us the practical wisdom of what it means to follow Jesus. These are like the nuts and bolts of how our relationship with the Holy Spirit works.
My big idea for today is that we were saved for a purpose to reflect the mandate and mission of our Heavenly Father through the work of Christ Jesus. My prayer for us today is the together we would allow the transformative work of the Holy Spirit to take hold in our hearts, that we would let go of the carnal emotions and physical responses to the evil in this world and pick up the virtue of a holy God. If you have your Bibles today you can join me as we turn to, you guessed it Romans Chapter 12 starting at verse 17.
Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyesRomans 12:17-21
of everyone. 18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. 19 Do
not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to
avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. 20 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.” 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but
overcome evil with good.
In order to help me share with you today, I have separated my thoughts into 2 sections or points. Let’s take a look at my first point.
Mercy Is Our Mandate
Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. 18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. 19 Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord.Romans 12:17-19
I’ll ask the question, what is mercy? Mercy is the compassion/act of compassion for an offender. Essentially, it’s not getting what we deserve. Unlike karma, where one eventually gets what they have coming. God’s mercy spares us the fate or wrath that we justly deserve.
Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone.Romans 12:17
reject every kind of evil.1 Thessalonians 5:22
New King James say it this way. Abstain from every form of evil. We must seek to maintain the sanctity of the vertical relationship with God. Where there are no grounds for you or me to participate in evil of any form. I know we have all thought of it, some have acted on it as well, but we must never allow ourselves to be talked into the justification of rationalizing our own vengeance. Paul pushes forward to say not just in your eyes or as it relates to your point of view, but to give preference to the nonbeliever.
Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.Matthew 5:5
This is a classic example of meekness. The restraining of one’s power or wrath. Hold it back that they may feel the love of Christ.
If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.Romans 12:18
As far as it depends on you, We must do our best to live peaceably. There’s that word again, with everyone. I know what your thinking now, Pastor you obviously don’t know my neighbor!
If it is possible, as far as it depends on you…
How many know that not everyone is going to like you? How many know that not everyone is capable of peaceful participation in life. Some of you are thinking, yeah Pastor what about that! God’s word teaches us that we should bless them anyway and go about our lives living in the victory that Christ has given us. This was the example Jesus set for us. The life Jesus lived was above reproach and he reigns victorious.
Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord.Romans 12:19
The illustration comes right out of the text. Why is mercy our mandate? Because Justice belongs to God. And here is the reality, we must embody God’s mercy because we have been the recipient of that grace. We must consider Christ’s mandate of mercy as our own. God did not give us what we deserved, rather Jesus Christ paid the price for our sin. How can we then judge and avenge the transgressions of others?
For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.Matthew 7:2
Here is why we must really get this today.
Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.Ephesians 4:31-32
The purpose of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is to bring hope for salvation. It’s the good news that Jesus our Messiah has come, and we have been saved. We have been filled with His spirit. And we are being transformed into His image. Mercy is the divine mandate of God in Christ Jesus!
I’ll move on to my next point.
Grace Is Our Mission
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.” 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.Romans 12:20-21
Again, Paul mirrors the words of Jesus
For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’Matthew 25:35-36
I’ll summarize, Jesus said, they would say, Lord when did we see you in these ways and in verse 40 Jesus replies:
“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’Matthew 25:40
Grace was His mission. And if we are to be transformed in his image, we must make a conscience choice to allow ourselves to be changed. Watch this: if we do this
“…In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.”
That sounds like a great way to get even right? No! What it does mean is that by your love to do what is right and good you demonstrate the mercy and grace of Christ Jesus, the light of good you reflect has shown on their darkness. And as a result, they will feel the conviction of their actions and brought to a point of a decision. Forced to choose Good or evil. Heaven or Hell. Salvation in Jesus Christ or eternal separation from God. It’s a moment of spiritual realization. Its an awakening of sorts.
Some of us talked before about keeping our side of the street clean. With an eternal view and a spiritual responsibility, we must also seek to honor God. Regardless of what the world is doing. Simply put, the light we reflect, the light of Jesus, is a tool that the Holy Spirit uses to bring the lost to faith in Christ. It brings correction to those who will hear it. Gandhi was a Hindu, but he believed in the ways of Jesus, However, he was not converted, he made this statement: “I would have become a Christian had I ever met one.” The choice we make for grace today may be the jewel in your witness that wins souls for Christ. You may be here today and be wondering, why should I care so much for those who I don’t even know? Because the soul you might win might just be your own child/loved one.
Before I make decisions, I ask myself 3 questions:
- Does it honor God?
- Does it bless someone other than myself?
- What does it do for my witness as a follower of Christ?
If the answer presents as negative in any of these 3 questions, I must reject that notion and choose Christ. Grace is the mission for us through Christ as well as for other, perhaps through you.
On that cross, Christ was the pinnacle of mercy. It was His mandate from the Father. In the Garden Jesus prayed,
Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.”Matthew 26:39
He took the punishment so that we could be saved. He took what we deserved so that we could live in Him. Notice the pattern; He sacrificed for us, so that we could share in His suffering for others. This is the ultimate “pay it forward”
Christ sacrificial grace, His unmerited favor. Grace was his mission. That we might be saved. In taking on our sin, He is able to forgive all sin. And while we were still against Him in our sin, He died for us. As you just let that settle for a moment. I’ll ask you this question.
Would you open our hearts to Jesus today in such a way that you open your hearts to loving those who oppose you?
About this time I’d like to remind you of this…
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.John 3:16
Jesus, He’s the Son of the living God, and we can receive from Him today His Righteousness, His purpose and His calling. Will you call on him today? Your salvation/forgiveness is just one prayer away. Will you trust in his ability to do what He said He would do? Will you believe today?
Many of you need a fresh touch from God today. Is there some form of unbelief or a fracture of trust as it relates to God in your life today? God wants to redeem and restore those areas of your life? He wants to restore Joy and hope for you today. You’re hearing this now and the Holy Spirit has brought someone or something to mind. He wants to speak life into this today. He wants to bring healing in this area today. There are areas of deep regret when it comes to your relationship with God and you have rejected Christ as your savior. It’s not too late.
It’s not too late to humble yourself before him today, hold out your arms and open your hands to receive from him today. Will you say yes to Jesus, today? Will you bow your heads with me? Some of you already know the Lord, but maybe he’s put something on your heart that you need to deal with, you need to ask his forgiveness today. If that’s you will you just acknowledge that to him today. This is just you and God here.
Now someone here may not have that relationship with Jesus and today you’ve felt him tugging at your heart, you’ve been hurt, and you’re guarded, I know. Jesus is here and wants set things right in your life. If you’ll say Pastor, I want Jesus to be my Lord and savior. Remember, it’s just you and God here. Will you pray with me today, We’ll pray here as a family and you can repeat after me.
Jesus, I know that I’m a sinner. I ask you today for your forgiveness. I believe that you died for my sins and on that 3rd day, you rose from the dead. I ask you to come into my heart today. I trust and follow you as my Lord and savior. Guide me and help me to do your will. In Jesus’ name Amen.
“‘“The Lord bless youNumbers 6:24-26
and keep you;
25 the Lord make his face shine on you
and be gracious to you;
26 the Lord turn his face toward you
and give you peace.”’