The Bible says in the book of Romans, God has shed abroad the love of God in our hearts.
Remember that verse? So if the love of God flows into you, you know what that means? The love of God can flow out of you. Well, man, I'm just out of love, man. I've run out of love.
Impossible. The love of God is flowing into you. The love of God is shed abroad in our hearts. The love of God keeps coming in unless you've shut it off.
God calls his people to a different and higher way of living. And today on Connect with Skip Heitzig, Skip shares how you can show God's love to others through your forgiveness and compassion. But before we begin, we want to share about a resource that will help you enjoy studying your Bible. Is your personal Bible study time frustrating? Do you need direction? You can study the Bible with a plan and see progress.
Listen to this from Skip Heitzig. All of us, we have trouble with certain parts of the Bible. Sometimes it's tough. But exposure to the Bible, a consistent exposure to the Bible, and I would add on a daily basis with a consistent desire to obey it will do more for you than any other thing that I can think of in your Christian life. Take the mystery out of studying scripture with Pastor Skip's book, How to Study the Bible and Enjoy It. Our thanks to you when you give $25 or more to help connect more people with this Bible teaching ministry. Get the tips and tools you need to open your eyes, mind, and heart to God's truth.
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We're in Romans chapter 12 as we begin our study with Skip Heitzig. Many pulpits lack teaching. They have preaching. They have exhorting.
They have entertaining. But few have preaching. In fact, in many churches, and I've seen many of them, when a pulpit committee looks for a pastor, they rarely look for a teacher, especially an expository teacher.
They want somebody who has other gifts, somebody who can raise the budget, somebody who can meet with donors, somebody who can be nice and visit all the people all the time. And thus, he may not have time to prepare a message, but the message is it's incidental. It's not as important. I believe it's dire.
I believe it's very important. God has given us a book, and a teacher will explain clearly, simply, the meaning of that. So, he who teaches in teaching, so that's my little bias, that's my little soapbox, but I qualified it.
I warned you. Verse 8, he who exhorts, and that is a spiritual gift, in exhortation. Exhortation. The word in Greek for exhort or exhortation is parakaleo, and parakaleo is better translated encouraging. You know, we think of somebody who exhorts, you know, and they kind of get in your grill, and they, you know, have a furrowed brow, and they tell you what to do, and actually, an exhorter encourages you to do it.
And it might have a firmness to it. That gift might be expressed that way, but it's going to, you know, teaching lays the foundation, and exhortation is the gentle prod that uses the gift of teaching and instruction, and motivates a person. See, so, here's an example. Let's say I hold up a skateboard, since we have a skate park here, and I hold up a skateboard and go, man, first of all, let me tell you about this skateboard. This skateboard is a longboard, and I'm only going by what I have at home. So a longboard is different than a shorter skateboard. It turns, it's smoother, but it doesn't turn as well, but the wheels are a little bit bigger, so they're softer, and I start explaining all the parts, and the bearings, and the trucks, and how it operates, and the tape on top that gives you grip, and so you're getting all this instruction.
All that's good. Now you know how it operates, but somebody with the gift of exhortation is the guy who gives you a push on the skateboard. It's one thing to have the instruction, but it's another thing to get the push and get some momentum. Now, you need both. You need instruction, because you don't want somebody just putting somebody who knows nothing about this on a skateboard, just pushes them down a hill.
That'd be cruel. So you need instruction, but if you just get instruction, but you don't have somebody to help you put it into practice, it's just head knowledge. So teaching and exhortation are two gifts that often operate together. So many times the teacher will also be a preacher and vice versa. He who exhorts in exhortation. He who gives with liberality. There is a gift of giving. All of us are called to give and support the Lord's work, but some people, God gives a special enabling to see a need, and the financial wherewithal, and the heart to meet that need. He who leads with diligence. I believe this leadership gift referred to here is known as, in 1 Corinthians 12, the gift of administration, the ability to administrate and to lead that way. He who shows mercy with cheerfulness, another spiritual gift.
Thank God for those who have the gift of mercy when we need it. Verse 9, let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil.
Cling to what is good. Now here's what I want you to notice as we go through the rest of this chapter. There are 30 short little commands.
Just sort of one strong upon another. Little staccato exhortations. Do this, do that, you know, this, that.
30 of them. And they all primarily deal with love. How we love the family of God. How we love hostility or the world even in the midst of hostility, and how we love even our enemies.
So, let love be without hypocrisy. Those two words without hypocrisy, one word in the Greek language. Anhupokritas. Anhupokritas.
Without hypocrisy. Anhupokritas. A hypocrite, literally, hupokritas, Greek word, was nothing more than an actor. A stage actor who wore in his hand, had in his hand, had in his hand a mask or two, and put a mask up and spoke words before a crowd.
Put them, like, let's say he has a happy face, puts that up and says words, then takes it down, puts up the sad face and says things. That is an actor. That's a hupokritas. To say this, let love be anhupokritas. Without hypocrisy is to say, let your love be so genuine that you're not wearing a mask when you say it and when you act it. It's love without a mask.
Love with a mask. Hypocritical love is where somebody says sweet sappy little sentimental nice things to you to make you feel good, then stabs you in the back. That's hypocritical love. Judas Iscariot loved Jesus hypocritically.
He came to the garden with a kiss. And Jesus said, you betray the Son of Man with a kiss. That's hypocrisy. It's a show of affection outwardly, but inwardly, you're a traitor. So let your love be real. Let it be genuine. Without hypocrisy, abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good.
You could do a sermon and each one of these are all so good. Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love. Now I'm sorry to go into so much of the Greek language, but it's a play on words in this verse. So when he says be kindly affectionate, he uses the word philastorgos. And then he says brotherly love, it's the word philadelphia. Philo or phila is brotherly love.
So it's a play on words. Be philastorgos to one another with philadelphia. All of that to say love like you're part of the same family. You're in the family of God.
That's your brother and your sister. Not my real brother, yeah, more so deeper because of the spiritual bond. So be kindly affectionate, philastorgos to one another with philadelphia, with real brotherly love. In honor, giving preference to one another, not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit. That means burning hot, red hot in spirit, serving the Lord, rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer, distributing to the needs of the saints, given to hospitality.
Now in verse 11, just notice this whole thing about not lagging in diligence but fervent in spirit, serving the Lord. Have you noticed, see if you've noticed this, there seem to be seasons in the Christian experience. At first, we're red hot. We're on fire.
We're so excited. Jesus is so real. My sins are forgiven. I'm going to heaven. I know God.
Do you know God? I mean we're just amped, right? We get so excited. And that's so awesome.
It's great, right? That's zeal, and it's zeal according to knowledge. But then when we get out a lot of knowledge, we get a lot of Bible knowledge, we know a lot of Greek words, like I just rattled off, we can sometimes tend to become so mind heavy and emotionally light. Yes, I remember when I was that amped up, when I was a young believer, when I was immature, and I just kind of mouthed off. And as we grow through these seasons of the Christian life, we start even disdaining being a fanatic. Nobody wants to be a fanatic. Well, you are a fanatic. Some of you are sports fanatics. Sports fan.
Fan is short for fanatic. Some of you will go to a game or you'll watch a game at home and somebody makes a touchdown or a home run and you don't sit there and go, oh, how lovely. You yell. The neighbors hear you.
The dogs bark in the neighborhood. Fanatic. You're a fan, man. You're excited. And yet when it comes to the things of God, which ought to be really exciting, we can tend to become so passive.
We're afraid. Well, I don't want to be a spiritual fanatic. You know what? Try it. I don't mean be fake. I don't want to be a spiritual fanatic.
You know what? Try it. I don't mean be fake. Painted fire never warmed anyone. But allow the Holy Spirit to work in you in excitement for the most important, worthy things in the universe. God himself. And I found it's a lot easier to cool down a fanatic than warm up a corpse. Somebody's a little too fanatic, so give them to me all day long.
You know, it's a lot easier to kind of work with that than try to, oh, oh, come on. You know, somebody who's dead. I've always loved the 24th chapter of the book of Luke, the two disciples on the road to Emmaus. Jesus came and spoke to them, spoke the scripture to them, and after he left, they turned to each other and said, did not our hearts burn within us as he spoke to us along the way? May God give us that.
On fire, fervent in spirit, not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord, rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer, distributing to the needs of the saints, given to Philanexia, hospitality, literally the love of strangers, loving the strangers. Think about this word when it comes to the crisis of the border. Think of this when it comes to immigration. No matter what you think of what laws should be, and you have the right to think whatever you want, I'm not here to tell you what to think.
I'm not here to tell you what to think. I am here to tell you that however a person comes into our country, love the stranger. Love the stranger. See that as an opportunity for the gospel to get a person who is on their way, not to heaven, but perhaps to hell, rescued and on their way to heaven, and them being brothers and sisters in your faith.
Hospitality. Now he shifts gears a little bit in verse 14. Bless those who persecute you. Bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those that rejoice and weep with those that weep. To live in Rome was very difficult for a Christian.
It was a volatile situation. It was becoming more and more hostile and more and more volatile to live out the Christian life in a pagan Roman environment, hence the need to bless those who persecute you. Bless and do not curse. Now that's impossible, and God calls you to it. It's impossible in the flesh.
It's impossible on your own. It's impossible without God's help, but Jesus said what's impossible with man is possible with God. Now listen, the Bible says in the book of Romans, God has shed abroad the love of God in our hearts. Remember that verse? So if the love of God flows into you, you know what that means? The love of God can flow out of you. Oh man, I'm just out of love, man. I've run out of love.
Impossible. The love of God is flowing into you. The love of God is shed abroad in our hearts. The love of God keeps coming in unless you've shut it off.
So it is never ending. You never are at an end of your capacity to show love to another person because the love of God has been shed abroad in our hearts. So based on that, bless those who persecute you. Bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep. The second part is easier than the first. Easy for me to weep with somebody who's weeping.
And here's why it's easier. I'm not going through that. You are. I can try to enter into your emotion.
I'll do my best to do that. Jesus did. Jesus wept at the grave of Lazarus, entering into the emotion of Mary and Martha. But that's much easier than the first part. Rejoice with those that rejoice. You say, no, that's actually easier than weeping with those who weep. No, I disagree.
I think it's harder to rejoice with those who are rejoicing. Okay, here's an example. Your car is beat up. I'm not saying it is, but let's say it is beat up.
You can't afford a new one. Somebody comes up to you and says, can you believe it? The Lord bless me with a brand new car. Rejoice with me. And you try.
And you go. All right, it's not a real smile, but praise God. Hallelujah.
It's hard because they're blessed and you ain't. You right? You feel me? You got that? Well, that's impossible.
Yeah, on your own it is. Rejoice with those who rejoice. Weep with those who weep. Be of the same mind toward one another. Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble. Don't be afraid to hang out with ordinary common people. Do not be wise in your own opinion.
No exaggerated. Don't cherish exaggerated thoughts of your own importance. Repay no one for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. I'm glad he said the caveat, if it is possible.
I'm glad he didn't say live at peace with all men. That ain't possible. Some people won't have it. But if it's possible, if you can do it, and for it to be possible, both parties have to be willing. And if both parties are willing, if the other party is willing, you should also be willing. So if it is possible, as much as depends on you, never let the inability to be at peace with your neighbor be on your side of the fence. Be at peace with all men.
There's a book out, I remember in the early 1980s, by Joyce Landorf. Now that goes back. Called Irregular People. And basically the theme in her books is that everybody has in their life at least one irregular person. It's that person every time you see him they say some remark that makes you feel bad. They can't help themselves.
There's always just that rub. They're inappropriate. They're mistimed.
All that. And it's how to deal with irregular people. But then the book also makes the point that you are also an irregular person to somebody else.
And how to change that as well. If it's possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath. For it is written, vengeance is mine.
I will repay, says the Lord. Some of us wish that verse wasn't there because, honestly, vengeance is so much fun. It's so fun in the flesh to plot and to plan getting that person back. Oh, it's going to feel so good. Oh, when they hear this, when they see this. It's fun. It's sinful, but it's a blast. That's honest.
You know what I mean. The Chinese had a proverb that, if your enemy wrongs you, buy each of his children a drum. That's the way you get back at them. Just have all their kids be a drummer. No offense if you're a drummer.
My respect to parents who let their kids be drummers. Therefore, verse 20, if your enemy hungers feed him, if he thirsts, give him a drink. For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head. That's an Egyptian custom. It's an old Middle Eastern custom. When somebody wanted to show public contriteness, that they had done something wrong to somebody and they wanted everybody to know that they're admitting they're wrong.
Just so you know, I admit my wrong. I'm letting it be known that I bear the shame. What they would do is they would carry a pan of hot coals on their head. I know that sounds really weird, but not like to burn their head.
They would have a little cloth tuffet, and then they would put a little thing with hot coals. And the idea is I'm bearing the heat of the shame and the pain that I have caused other people. So the idea of loving your enemy is you're going to heap fires of coals. You're going to make them feel really bad by you treating them so good. And they'll be humiliated. They'll be shamed because of your not acting like them, but you're acting with such love that it's going to cause a cessation. They're going to want to stop that.
That's the idea. In so doing, you will heap coals of fire in his head. Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. Overcome evil with good. You say, well, I don't have any enemies.
I don't know. I'm not going to give a show of hands and say, how many of you don't have any enemies? Because if you look up enemy in a dictionary, one of the definitions is not somebody who wants to kill you or shoot you or destroy you, but an antagonist. Anybody have an antagonist in their life?
Think of that as an enemy. David had a number of enemies. He said, you prepare a table for me in the presence of my enemies. David had Amalekites as enemies. David had Philistines as enemies. David had Goliath as enemies. David had a father-in-law as an enemy, King Saul. David had a son named Absalom who was an enemy. Jesus said a man's enemies will be those of his own household.
Some of you have frenemies, people who act like friends but are out to do you harm. Aren't you glad? It says, if it's possible, be at peace with all. Give it your best. In some cases, you'll be successful. In some cases, you won't. And when you're not, you've done your best. You've tried to reach out. You've tried to make peace, but you've honored the Lord.
That's Skip Heitig with a message from the series Expound Romans. Now, here's Skip with an important message for you. As Christians, we all have to deal with life in a fallen world. But that's why it's important to equip listeners like you with God's Word so you can soar through life.
You can thrive and not just survive. When you give a generous gift, you help share important lessons from the Bible with so many others. I'd like to ask you to consider taking action today to help reach even more lives with God's truth. Here's how you can do that. Visit connectwithskip.com slash donate to give a gift. That's connectwithskip.com slash donate. Or call 800-922-1888. 800-922-1888.
Thank you for your generosity. And come back tomorrow as Skip Heitig shares what your relationship as a believer should be with the government. You see, when Paul wrote this, there wasn't a Democrat or a Republican in sitting in Rome. There was not a Democrat. There was an autocrat, a superhero, a tyrant, a despotic ruler. And yet Paul says, let every soul be subject to governing authorities. Connect with Skip Heitig is a presentation of Connection Communications, connecting you to God's never changing truth in ever-changing times.
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