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March 18, 2019 11:23 am
Elementary school if I got punched, I punch, but someone followed me when I was playing football or soccer. I tackled them the harvest of the first opportunity I could get that will teach them. It was my attitude but that attitude isn't confined to little boys at school when we are wrong. Most of us want to put it right. We once that person to pay for it. The desire for revenge is a very very common human emotion.
It may take a long time for that person to get what they deserve, but we remember the wrong they inflicted on us, and sooner or later, and we hope will have the opportunity to take a revenge I've known many people to go through life with deep, deep grudges, deep resentments, deep anger as they think of how they were wronged in the past of how they were wronged by a former wife or husband parent a child a business partner, a colleague, a brother and sister in Christ, they want payback. They want revenge. Some people get even by what they say that sarcastic remark designed to settle the score that criticism or gossip behind the back that false accusation others get even by their attitudes. They adopt a superior attitude. They ignore someone they would have nothing to do with that person. Others get even by their actions. They retaliate in kind. They follow the law of the jungle is aware and their glad when disaster overtakes that individual that they feel has wronged them.
And let's face it, there's a certain pleasure in getting even.
Isn't there and getting over revenge, but the Bible makes it very clear that those of us who are followers of Jesus Christ are not legitimate are not to indulge in revenge. Revenge is not to be part of the Christian vocabulary. But what are we to do when people heard this when people defraud us when people betray us.
When people take advantage of us.
When people abuse us the answer, at least in part, is funded our passage this morning.
If you have your Bible invited to turn to it to Romans chapter 12 verses 14 through 21 we saw last week. As we look at verses nine through 13 of Romans 12 the importance of genuine love demonstrated to our fellow believers. But now, in verses 14 through 20 10 we are dealing.
Paul deals with yes of genuine love towards our fellow believers, but also to the unbeliever. In fact, also to our enemies that before we look at these verses we need to be very very clear on one fundamental matter that this love which Paul is talking about beginning in verse nine but he says let love be genuine and going on to the end of the chapter. This love doesn't gain this matter with God.
We have repeatedly learned in the book of Romans. Over these months that we are saved by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone.
That is, we cannot we cannot earn God's love. But the wonderful truth of the Christian gospel is that God loves us despite their failures, despite our sin despite out on the holiness. No, not one of us deserves the love of God, but there is genuine love. This love comes from God to us that God demonstrates his love toward us in that while we are yet sinners, Christ died for us. We gather this morning writing the communion table which tells us as we look at the cross that God loves us, not because what we are wonderful people, not because we deserve it, not because you love God but because God loves you in the very character of God is love and he has shown that love to us supremely in his son, our Lord Jesus Christ.
So this love that were talking about is not produced by self discipline or personal determination. Rather, it is receiving God's love as a gift that God demonstrates his love for us. He shows us his love in this wonderful gift of his son, who on the cross pays the price for our sins for our revengeful attitudes and actions for our unholiness for our rebellion, our Savior dies in our place and we rejoice not only in his death for our sins, but his glorious resurrection, though he's alive in the Bible says that if you call upon the name of the Lord you will be saved, and only then will you personally understand something of the love of God in your heart because in the miracle of conversion. God pours his love into your heart through the Holy Spirit is given to us and now we can begin to love God as we shoot we love because he first loved us. We would begin to love our brothers and sisters here at Calvary.
Let's face it, at some that is not easy as it and even in the medical of conversion, as we will see we can love our enemies. This is supernatural. Love is the divine love is a love of God which followers of Jesus are to show up in the face of evil in the face of unrighteousness in the face of false accusation in the face of suffering and persecution here is love in action. I would love for we receive from God, but not our love impacting a world which is hostile to our Lord Jesus Christ.
This is part an important part.
An essential part of the transformation of the gospel need to understand that Jesus Christ never leaves us where we are.
When he impacts our life, we are changed and we begin to see everything different. The old is gone, the newest, here is love in action. We send and read with me.
The text of Scripture Romans chapter 12 verses 14 through 21 and think of what the Spirit of God is saying in these verses them with me, bless those who persecute you blasts 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 site 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 for 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. Thank you. Please be seated.
The transformation of the gospel. Note in verses 14 and 15 and 16. Paul is saying J love is gracious to all. It is gracious to everyone. Verse 14 Romans 1214 bless those who persecute you blasts and do not curse them genuine love. Bless his people and doesn't curse them. Now this is just this is more than just ignoring the persecution.
This is more than just ignoring the wrong I think most of us would think were pretty good. If we were living for Christ. And there's hostility and there's persecution and we just walk away from it. We think I've done pretty well, but the Spirit is saying no you to do more than that.
Bless those who persecute you blasts and do not curse them. That is the teaching of the New Testament said by our Lord himself is that we are to love the persecutor turned back in your Bibles to Luke chapter 64 Gospels Matthew Mark Luke here is the third gospel. Luke chapter 6 the teaching of her large and what we call the Beatitudes here is the look in a convent. Luke six verse 27 but I say to you, holy who here. Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, given enemies to know people who hate you could even be a family member Québec farmer business colleague could even be a parents, a brother, someone who hates you what what my to do. I'm to do good to that person who hates you blasts those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you is what Paul is saying here when faced with a hostility to the gospel as God to bless that person rather than wanting some disaster to overtake them.
That is the human emotion is that someone hurts me someone injures me in some way persecutes may and I want something done to hurt them and I want it done as quickly as possible losses for the winter to do that rather than curse the person I want you to bless them there is to be no valuable retaliation by followers of Jesus. Listen to Peter, who was a man who spoke very very quickly by the writing as an older and wiser man under the inspiration of the Spirit of God as he looks at Jesus. He records this first Peter two verse 23 when he outlawed was reviled. He did not revile in return that because he didn't know what to say or no, you could've silenced his accusers immediately when he was reviled. He did not revile in return when he suffered, he did not threaten what did he do, he continued entrusting himself to him who judges righteously. That is the left it all to his father and his God. So this genuine love which I received from God. This genuine love that I'm to grow more and more as I become more and more like Jesus calls for God's blessing on their persecutors not cursing them now. If that is true as to how we should respond to a persecutors how much more to a person who merely hurts us or offends us we do you do when someone offends you, you curse them and some of you are too quick with cursing and swearing, swearing and cursing should not be parked of the Christian's vocabulary. Show your annoyance in some other way, how do you respond to that bad thought out against driver who cut you off is allowed both not talking about by driving no he's not. That's true but if I am to bless my persecutor as I follow Christ is not logical to think that just when I am merely inconvenienced.
I shouldn't respond. I dove temporarily or swearing at him shyly think I don't shaking my fist is not any way for the follower of Christ to act what you do when you're inconvenienced you shut just where my dish I didn't your children you swear them.
I don't play golf much blood played with manic golf when they when they miss the parts the curse is pretty bad, isn't it. You say well you know much of a golfer is really tough when you miss that part. I understand that but to curse and to swear no whoever the person is when it is our best friend bought out NMA auto persecutor. We are to be known as people of blessing, so that people are helped by their interaction with us, not curse genuine love. Bless is not curse is verse 15. Genuine love is sympathetic. Verse 15.
Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep is often said it's easier to weep with Babel until rejoice with them but would to both. We are to rejoice with those who rejoice. To do that to the natural reaction sometimes is to be envious or to be bitter to be resentful or angered when someone is successful.
Sadly, if a person is wrong.
Thus, we don't want them to be rejoicing.
We want them to suffer.
But Paul is saying in all cases, I am to rejoice. She genuine love enters into the joys and sorrows of others because this love is not some selfish self-indulgence, but it reaches out in the sympathetic and understands what's going on in the lives of others. Whether this person is rejoicing. If there rejoicing on rejoicing with them if they're suffering I'm suffering with them, and firemen if they are weeping. I am weeping with them. Genuine love rejoices and genuine love weeps. Think of the example of our Lord is rejoicing at the wedding of Cana of Galilee. In fact, through his medical the joy on the rejoicing increases. He turned the water into wine but over a few chapters and John and we come to John 11 and a dear friend of his dies and the sisters Mary and Martha absolutely devastated that the death of their brother in Jesus. Even though he knows is going to raise Lazarus from the dead. What does he do Jesus, so that the Jews say or how he loved when did you last week with a friend, a friend who was suffering we live in a cold world on way we live in a very busy world where so many of us are wrapped up in her little iPhone in our own little life in our own little family and sometimes we fail to understand what is going on in our neighborhood what's going on with her brothers and sisters in Christ and was going on in society.
This love. This love of God transforms us and transform society as we rejoice with people and weep with them for the more their 16 this genuine love is humble, live in harmony with one another.
Do not be haughty but associate with the lowly. We saw this before in chapter 12 generally, this love that comes from God is not conceited or arrogant genuine love doesn't act superior to people know genuine love, the love of God treats everyone alike irrespective of who they are both going to remind us in chapter 13 verse nine that were to love our neighbor as ourselves.
What does arrogance do what does pride do.
It divides us from others, but genuine love is not prejudiced against people in the family of God.
Surely we understand this that we are all equal in the family of God were all sinners were all saved by the saving grace. This large table reminds us that we've all come into the kingdom of God, the same way all through the grace of God and the dog not only loves me but he loves you and that you are his son, and I am his son and we are equal in the sight of God and therefore, could it be that any of us could be characterized by Heineken's or conceits know that is to be in the Christian community. No elitism, no racism, no superiority of one people over another… Membership class yesterday and I don't know what they thought of it.
I enjoyed it goes from 9 to 1250 NASA longtime movement.
But what a blessing for them, but there we were, and there's about 40 people I don't know if you got all of the nationalities.
Everyone did introduce themselves by those who did. There were people from Ghana. There were people from Ethiopia. There was people from Nigeria there was a young man fought from Columbia that's Colombia South America not South Carolina. And then there was a young lady from a place I'd never even had up until I moved here is west of here.
It's called Estonia. She was from there and I thought, here we are in this little room brothers and sisters in Christ the Lord and his grace brings different nations different ethnicities different personalities different backgrounds and he brings us together and Paul is saying here. Listen to it live in harmony with one another over society can enhance weaving of the terrible tragedy of the last few days and that beautiful islands of New Zealand for some supposedly white supremacist gauze and mows down people who are worshiping as we don't agree with their theology, brother man and woman in boys and girls made in the image of God, and this goes on in our world. Such hatreds.
Such hatreds such as division, such superiority of some people over others in there on thinking how wonderful that here in the family of God. Pulses live in harmony with one another. Don't be haughty, but associate with the lowly see this genuine love is humble. I will remember as a young mind as I began my legal career in the first law firm I worked with the, the senior partner was of a brilliant lawyer in a very very strong Christian, very gracious, very humble, but because he was so good he had applied Stewart to a high up at the very top of society but are used to marvel as I would see him with his arm on the shoulder of some old widow who hadn't very much money. In fact, he probably never even charge them and he was so kind and so gracious. Nice to think to myself, how is it that he can have such time for such individuals.
What was he doing he was doing what Paul says here during the holiday but associate with the lowly.
That's the transformation of the gospel is in the sea when you're good when you went well educated when you're making a lot of money and is very very easy. Isn't that the thing while I've achieved this. Who cares about people below me the transformation of the gospel is this that we associate with every single person for followers of Jesus there is to be no social or economic or intellectual or cultural elite in the church of Jesus Christ are to be no snobbery. There's to be no and they were very different. We are to appreciate and volatile. This is earlier in chapter 12. Went to appreciate not only our unity but also our diverse city so that there is an absence of prejudice.
What a wonderful testimony to the world is think of what's going on out there in our society.
Obviously, not just the United States but throughout the world and it is in the church of Jesus Christ that people whoever they are, that they come and they experience the love of God. Yes, through the proclamation of the word yes through the gospel, but also through people like you and me, so that as you came here. I trust your excited to people around you, whether you might someday in the parking lot of the Galleria or after the service, to reach out to someone as I don't think I know you how wonderful that we come together to worship the Lord see this genuine love transforming is needed.
It changes how we look at ourselves and how we look at other people.
This love is gracious to everyone.
It's it's it's humble of a friend is nigh with the Lord was a cardiologist and his uncle was a very famous physician in England.
His name was Randall short and Randall short was internationally known as a brilliant physician in the story told of Randall Schartz that in the hospital one day Heather was in his speciality et al. but he saw this. This woman right from the streets in in the corridor waiting for some medical attention in the business of the hospital. No one could be bothered with her. She was dirty, she was smelly and people are busy and Randall short stopped. She did know he was in the asked her what was wrong and should some some some terrible putrid mess. Eastman smelly infection in her feet and this brilliant surgeon literally got done on these hands and knees and and clean this woman's feet in and clean the wound and helped her and his colleagues to were so a superior, they thought what's what's shot during taking care of that old hag Thompkins until someone said you Randall short, he treated her as a princess. Thanks. The transformation of the gospel isn't it that makes a difference that silences the argumentative person when we realize that this gospel, this transformation of the gospel changes us, freeing us from our self absorption and self-indulgence, and our own narrow little life and we begin to see the world and people as God sees it. No verses 17 through 21 genuine love does not seek revenge. I know that's what the Bible says I'm like you, I'd like to get my revenge on some people as well, but we can do it.
This genuine love. First of all verses 17 and 18 is peaceable repay no one evil for evil, you hear me 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 genuine love is peaceable it's it's it's it's humble doesn't curse it sympathetic but is peaceable we are to follow Jesus to be characterized by doing what is good and not evil doing repay evil for evil as anyone ever done evil against you. I am sure each one of us could say could give many examples where someone has done evil against is the dominant of them said something against that which is just evil know I'm not to do that I'm to be a peacemaker than Jesus said blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called the sons of God needed to be a troublemaker easy to be a rabble-rouser, particularly in today's society, but were not to be contentious not always to be complaining about every circumstance always to be in the middle of an argument nova not to be troublemakers and I realize sometimes it's impossible to avoid contention but the Scriptures say as far as you can spot as it depends on you, live in peace with everyone. The other person maybe doesn't want to be at peace with you for this file is your concern. Do all you can to live peaceably with you doing that you doing that you're a peacemaker world once to see one thing fleshed out the gospel. There were people of honor that were people of integrity, living in harmony with others in your family at work is something wrong, isn't it at your work. If people say you're a follower of Jesus Christ. And you're always a troublemaker. You're always criticizing the boss you know you're always complaining to people and getting people in the state of agitation. That's not the way of the Christian if possible, so far as it depends on University, live peaceably with all and in today's world of tweeting and texting and social media. It's so easy to get embroiled in some name-calling and controversy visited when you put an innocent sweetheart are and and and someone was of an argument with you.
And if you're like me you want to say hey I cannot do better than you can I can put you right in your place, and is so easy as need to to get embroiled in NSN's matters which don't really matter with peaceably with all some people would fight with her own shadow Wednesday learn how to deal with irritating people at work. Learn how to deal with hostile people, perhaps even in your own family. Don't allow others to rob you of the peace that God gives you a prisoner in which up at nights in your thinking about this controversy is limited peace. I realize sometimes it is impossible to be at peace with people, and yes we are to stand for what our convictions are not talking about you being awake I'm talking about strength, but strength under control in the Gospels member in the garden they come to the Lord and is a large hitter to sorts who takes one Peter. What does he do with any of a good swordsman ends up with the seven of the high priests because of the guys either climb together sort we don't know he was someone who had the sword who had the power to smite but didn't use it to have the power to smite them not to use it is strength twofold. You don't have to respond. Just because you can just because you can win the argument just because the other person is obnoxious. The Bible is saying here repay no one evil for this difficult yes, but this is the transformation of the gospel in verses 19 through 21, we see that genuine love is not vengeful. Verse 19 beloveds, never avenge yourselves is pretty clear. Isn't it 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, theater every Thursday given something to drink for. By doing so you will heap burning coals on his head and then verse 21. What a magnificent summary. Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. And when he had ever been offended, mistreated, hurt the trade misunderstood and unfairly criticized. Always put up with constantly. We can all identify with this. What are you to do.
Don't take vengeance.
Vengeance is God's prerogative. Yes, God sees it. And God is going to put it right but leave it to God.
This is a method of living by faith God knows all about your situation. He understands her to understand the betrayal to understand the deep deep wounds that you have received because of the way this person has acted towards aorta said something or done something this painful but leave it to God. God is just, and he will dispense what you cannot do, he will dispense perfect justice in his own time and in his own way. I read from first Peter two verse 23.
Put our Lord when he was reviled. He didn't revile in return when he suffered, he didn't threaten but what did he do he entrusted himself to the one who judges righteously was that his father and his God leave it to God. God is the one who will deal with that person.
Don't you take that into your hands.
Now I will be the first to say that not taking vengeance is contrary to human nature.
The motto of my native land. Scotland is normal may impurely like a set that it is and if you don't understand your Latinate is no one attacks me with impunity that you are that tells you something about the Scottish nation, doesn't it. The English have as their emblem arose.
What do we have is a Scotland official specials for the prickly people we are. And after centuries of English people trying to take our land and realize we believe that your fight back and you fight back harder than you can and you respond quickly. That is really part of the Scottish DNA. Some of you know that about me in this, it means no one who harms me is going to be unpunished that may be Scotland's model but is the very opposite of what Paul is teaching. I recently read a book about the Israeli secret service was sad and that the front cover of the book there's a quote from the Babylonian Talmud, the tractate Sanhedrin that it says this if someone comes to kill you. Rise up and kill them first know that may be appropriate for the country defending itself. I understand that but notes in your personal relationships. Paul is saying don't take vengeance into your own hands, we besetting the life of David, here is David is anointed king is told is going to be the king of Israel and of Judah, but there's a very evil man Saul who is presently caring and Saul is trying to kill David in these hunting them in the wilderness and he's got his army to get hold of David and to put a javelin through his heart. A couple of occasions David and his men come upon solo and he's asleep is not been guarded very well. The guard duty of falling asleep and that right there and they say to David, here is your chance you can kill your enemy solve right here.
In fact, I got a job and I'll put it right through him right now and that only need one attempt to kill him.
And David said no you can do you can put your hand against the Lord's anointed, and on one occasion the cuts a little piece of Saul's robe to prove that they were there that his life was in that hand. David could've said no God anointed McCain. This is an evil man. I'm going to be king I was my chance and I can take it no but David, the man after God's own heart does what probably very few of us would've done. He waits on God. He trusts the promises of God.
He believes that God in his own way and is on timing is going to bring him to be the king of Israel, as indeed he does a wonderful example of not taking vengeance and trusting in God. Our flesh is always in a hurry is in the wisdom God you been hurt very badly you you want justice, understand understand that God understands it away from God's time because Jesus taught us that were to bless and pray for those who persecute us to love our enemies in the face of opposition and difficulties be helpful and generous of spirits. You've got these family members that you think are very, very difficult and they have made life miserable for you, and they've teamed up against you, and I do you feel very very frustrated under attempted to fight back. Don't do that we need to show the grace show them love bless them.
That's what the Scripture is saying, consider that person who's wrong to. If your enemy is hungry for damages Thursday given something to drink. Verse Wednesday for in so doing you will heap burning coals on the sedges. That's why when I do I want to get burning coals on the said women wasn't meaning to know this is not retaliation. Paul may be referring to an Egyptian ritual in which a man gave public evidence of his penitence by touting a plan of burning coals on his head. That was a symbol that he was repentant that he was a shame.
The point is this.
Treat your enemy with love could commute you can another person show them the love of God and that love may lead them to repentance that may lead them to be ashamed of themselves and so you can turn an enemy into a friend. Abraham Lincoln said the best way to destroy your enemy is to make of your friends turn your enemy into a friend. Notice verse 21.
Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with you so you can either be conquered by evil, and so increase the evil and go through life with this deep bitterness the resentful and you want to tell everyone who will listen to you.
The injustice, the terrible thing that happened to you and you won't let it go and is like drinking your own poison your anime is living his or her life. And here you are drinking your own poison don't do that. Don't do that.
Don't be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with the victory over evil show love show kindness. Be generous feet. The person give them a drink. Help them reach out to them with a very love of Christ, and that may lead to the repentance and that may lead to the restoration of the relationship of the was one even if that doesn't work that's the right thing to do because ultimately God will deal with the situation with pulsating is genuine love as demonstrated by not getting even in her words and not antigens of their actions, but to wait on God, who says vengeance is mine says the Lord.
I will repay some of you have been very wrong by former husband wife. Some of you been terribly wrong by a child by her parents friend the boss business partner who took advantage of you and perhaps ruin your wrong, perhaps by someone here at Calvary would need to do. Don't allow the evil done to you to drive you to attend that trust God do with this right pray for that person who's wrong to continue to come to the table of the Lord when a create opportunity that resentment that bitterness you're carrying political and to see this person or someone is different.
To see this person as someone whom God loves, although they may have strayed far from them. And as far as you can do all you can to live at peace with that person to offer forgiveness to offer reconciliation because what the Lord say on the cross when he's been crucified and no one was more wrong than Christ. Absolutely perfect sinless father forgive them for they know not what we pray that for that person who's wrong to – God is you once again drink as we break bread drink of that deep, deep love of Jesus that that love will be shown to others. Help us father to do that. This is difficult for us but this is the transformation of the gospel.
We can only do this as we receive your love. We can only do than the power of the Holy Spirit.
So as we break bread deepen our faith. May we drink of the deep, deep, deep love of Jesus that it will be true of us, as it was true of the Christians of the first century, the people would say have they loved one another, help us not only to love one another, but to love our enemies and delivered neighbors as ourselves. Thank you for Christ and for his perfect example in his name, a man