Sermon: The Christian’s Call to Love Good and Hate Evil Romans 12:9-21

The Christian’s Call to Love Good and Hate Evil

Romans 12:9-21

Truth Taught- We are called to express genuine love to others within the body of Christ

Introduction

Last time we saw together just what a mind that has been renewed by the new life God has given to us through Jesus Christ looks like or more specifically, thinks like. We saw what it thinks about and how our renewed minds change the way we live.

Today, we are going to see how the renewed mind loves the things God loves and hates the things God hates. We are also going to see that the renewed mind loves the good so much that it gives us a completely new strategy when it comes to dealing with evil and those who would sin against us.

The context remains life in the local church. So, our first call is to love our brothers and sisters in our local fellowship. Then, as an overflow of this love for the good and hatred of evil we are also to show to the lost people around us.

Prayer

Romans 12:9–21 (ESV)

Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. 10 Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. 11 Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. 12 Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. 13 Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.

14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. 16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. 17 Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. 18 If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. 19 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.” 20 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.” 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

  1. Genuine Love Hates Evil and Holds Fast to What is Good

Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. 10 Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. 11 Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. 12 Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. 13 Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.

Paul begins verse 9 with, Let love be genuine. The word translated genuine is anypokritos which means without hypocrisy or undisguised. What would love look like that was hypocritical? I think it would be very showy and at the forefront. It would be driven by pride and the love of self. Fake love is a means to an end. The end is not the other person’s good, the end is self-promotion. Genuine love is a love without hypocrisy. This genuine love is the motivation for Christian service. We are called to love other believers in the local church setting with a love that is free from selfish agendas. We love and serve others here with an attitude of wanting their best and not to see what we can get from them.

What does genuine love do within the local fellowship of believers?

It’s brotherly affection- It’s caring for, meeting the needs of, and truly praying for other members here. It’s going out of your way to show them kindness. We can show brotherly love because in Christ we truly are brothers and sisters.

Romans 8:15–17 (ESV)

15 For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” 16 The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.

Genuine love does something else…really two things: Genuine love abhors evil and clings tightly to what is good. Let’s break this down a little.

Biblically, there is Good and Evil in this world. These evils are evil across the board. Let me say it like this…Evil is evil for everyone at all times throughout history. Good things are good for all people at all times throughout history. There is no, well this might be evil in your book but not in mine.

The modern church has been taken hostage by this type of thinking. We have been led down a path of lies.

Same sex marriage, Homosexuality, Transgender, are not good things, they are evil for everyone, at all times, throughout history. In a couple of days we have the opportunity to vote. I pray Christians turn out to vote and that they vote Christian. They vote for pro-life candidates and not for pro-choice candidates; I pray we vote for pro-traditional marriage candidates and not those who are promoters of same sex marriages; I pray we vote for candidates who say men are men and girls are girls and it doesn’t matter what you say or think you’re either one or the other and it’s very easy to tell.

There is evil and there is good and our children need to know that. Teach that simple truth to your kids. Let them see that it matters to you. Let them see you abhorring evil and holding fast to what is good. Let them see you forfeiting money or doing hard things to do what’s right. Kids there is right and wrong, Jesus wants you to always do what is right and good and honorable.

To help us with the meaning of abhor because we usually don’t use it that much…what other English word is from the same word family as abhor? Horror. We are to be horrified and deeply afraid of evil. When we are afraid of evil things we will flee from them. This is how we are to react to the evil things of this world. Run away, flee from evil.

2 Timothy 2:22 (ESV)

22 So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.

While we are fleeing from all forms of sin and temptation be holding on to what is good and honorable. Hold fast is the Greek word, kollomenoi, which means to cling to, be cemented to, be one with. It’s a very strong word. So, we are to make what is good a part of us. Be in horror of sin and make good part of us.

Something that seems odd at first but isn’t odd when we think through it is that genuine love hates evil. True love hates evil and evil things. We must seek to have the genuine love God has and His love hates certain things.

What remains in this first section are ways we are to do this…

10 Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. 11 Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. 12 Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. 13 Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.

Do you see how these acts of love are genuine and without any self-serving motivation? Each act of love is seeking not our own good but the good of others and not the minimum acceptable amount but with zeal.

Things like zeal, brotherly affection, fervency, rejoicing, and being constant, are things that we cannot do on our own in hypocrisy. You can do some of these things with hypocrisy but you cant do them the way we are called to do them in hypocrisy. I can do good things for my brother in Christ but unless I have genuine love for him, I cannot do them with brotherly affection. These are things that can only happen when we are born again and the Holy Spirit is at work in us.

  1. Genuine Love Does Not Repay Evil with Evil

14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. 16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. 17 Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. 18 If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.

Our natural response to someone who has hurt us, cursed us, persecuted us is to get even by doing the same thing to them, I’m going to show them how it feels to be treated the way they treated me. We want our pound of flesh don’t we? But, we follow our Lord Jesus who when persecuted, treated badly, beated, and even murdered did not seek to get even but prayed…

Luke 23:34 (ESV)

34 And Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” And they cast lots to divide his garments.

So, we have to bite our tongue and be like Jesus. I still want to at least do a little Scripture twisting to say something like…Father forgive them because they are so stupid. But then I come back to reality and say Father, forgive them.

So, we abhor evil to the degree that we don’t want to even be around it to repay it with more evil. So, the way we are to answer evil is not with more evil but with good and kindness and mercy.

Genuine love, because it’s not self-serving, will associate with the lowly. Fake love that’s out to impress others will not associate with the lowly because of our reputation. We can only be seen with others who are popular because we want to be popular. Again, we have Jesus leading the way don’t we?

Luke 15:2 (ESV)

And the Pharisees and the scribes grumbled, saying, “This man receives sinners and eats with them.”

Yes, Jesus’ reputation suffered and yes yours will too. But if we possess genuine love and not fake hypocritical love we really won’t care.

17 Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. 18 If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.

True love responds with grace and mercy and not with more evil. The truth is that everyone won’t like you and you cannot be everyone’s friend. Some people will hate you but it’s not your fault if they do. so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. We must realize there are some people we cannot live at peace with for various reasons but it’s not because we haven’t tried.

There are those within the church that just won’t like you and it’s not because you’ve done anything to them. For time sake I won’t recount the multiple times within the church setting that people have not liked me. From not planting their friends tulips for them, to not agreeing with their stance on the masons, to simply standing up for what was right, a few times just for being there. In each occasion, I was required to seek peace with those people…sometimes it was possible other times it was not possible.

  1. Genuine Love Lives by Faith in God’s Vengeance and Reward

19 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.” 20 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.” 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

The right attitude and the right strategy for overcoming evil with good and to not answer evil with evil is to realize that God will get even for you. We don’t have to get even with someone who has wronged us. We can trust in our God who knows all things. If there is any vengeance to take place by faith we can wait for God to do it. We trust, we have faith that revenge will happen correctly and appropriately when God does it and not us.

When we seek revenge our repaying someone for being sinned against is also tainted with sin. We won’t get it perfect. God knows all things and He knows exactly what is right in any given situation. It probably won’t happen on our time schedule but it will happen.

Deuteronomy 32:35 (ESV)

35    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.’
Beloved it takes faith to not avenge yourself. It takes discipline to not have the last word or seek to get revenge.

Because we have genuine love we can say, wait, I can let this go because I trust that God will take care of this matter in His timing and it will be done to perfection. Because I trust God, I can actually show them kindness.

If there’s any getting even to do God will do it.

Notice Peter’s assessment of how Jesus did this exact thing…

1 Peter 2:23 (ESV)

23 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.

Even Jesus…the One without sin left God to avenge the sin being committed against Him, Jesus, instead entrusted Himself to God. Jesus did not have to get even but instead placed all that in God’s hands.

No, our response must be the opposite.

Proverbs 25:21–22 (ESV)

21    If your enemy is hungry, give him bread to eat,

and if he is thirsty, give him water to drink,

22    for you will heap burning coals on his head,

and the Lord will reward you.

Genuine love has faith that God will do all the getting even and that in acting in obedience by answering evil with good, God will also reward us.

We’ve looked a lot at various aspect of genuine love. If we could sum it all up we might say that genuine love wants the best for someone else even if it means that to truly love someone else in the church it will cost you something we must do it for God’s glory.

The Wesleys, much like Spurgeon taught young ministers how to preach, teach, and care for their flock. Samuel Bradborn was a student preacher in Wesley’s school. He was very poor and needed help. Wesley wrote him a letter, Dear Sammy, trust in the Lord and do good; so shall thou dwell in the land and verily thou shall be fed. Yours Affectionately, John Wesley…With the letter he enclosed 2 5pound notes which was a considerable sum of money in the 1700s. Samuel replied, Sir and Dear Reverend, I have often been struck with the beauty of the passage you quote in your letter. I must, however, confess that I never saw such useful expository notes on it before.

Genuine love for God’s people takes thoughtfulness and there is a cost involved.

How does God want you to show someone in this local church genuine love?

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