Romans Series # 49 July 31, 2002
Title: A Christian’s "To Do" List Part 1
Introduction: Welcome to New Life in Christ. We are currently in Chapter 12 of Romans as we continue with message #49 of our verse-by-verse study of the Book of Romans.
Read Romans 12:9-13
In the early years of our marriage, Amy and I both worked outside the home and often had different days off. On my days off, Amy would often leave a "To Do" list attached to the TV, where she knew I would have to see it. The "To Do" list often contained a variety of things that needed to be done: Mow the lawn, pay bills, go to the bank, etc.. Although the list did not elaborate or give specifics, it was very clear what needed to be done. The only thing that connected the items on the list was that they all needed to be done as a part of my responsibilities within the marriage.
In a way, the rest of Romans Chapter 12 is a Christian’s "To Do" list. This is a list of a great variety of things that Christians need to and should be doing. The list contains short exhortations things to do without much elaboration or necessarily any connection with what proceeds or precedes the particular exhortation. Therefore the rest of Chapter 12 is not composed of any single topic but rather a series of miscellaneous Christian "To Do’s." With that said, let’s look at the first thing Paul mentions on the Christian’s "To Do" list.
1. Love others sincerely.
"Love must be sincere" as Paul says in the beginning of verse 9. This verse could also be translated as, "Love must be without hypocrisy." In other words, our love for others must be genuine or authentic, not counterfeit or feigned. What is the difference between real love and fake love? Actions! Real or sincere love demonstrates itself by doing, i.e. by actively helping others whereas hypocritical love is characterized by inaction. Hypocritical love is characterized by words, hugs, smiles, and best wishes without actually doing are sacrificing anything for others.
Read 1 John 3:16-18
When we’re walking in sincere love it will be evident by the way we live our lives and in the things we do, i.e. in our actions. Those with sincere love: visit the sick and imprisoned and lonely, give to the needy, pray for the hurting, and take time to help others. This love is the real deal. This love is the genuine article. The first thing, the preeminent thing on the Christian’s "To Do" list is to love others sincerely. Now let’s look at the second thing on the Christian’s "To Do" list.
2. Hate what is evil.
Paul’s words here about our attitude toward sinful, immoral things are quite strong. We’re literally to "abhor" those things in life that are wicked according to the word of God. We’re to feel and react to them in the same way as we would react to really messy diaper, "I want nothing to do with it and I want it out of my house and life as soon as possible." This is the attitude that we’re to have toward evil. We’re not to endure it, accept it, or live with it, we are to hate it. We are to hate things like: gossip, promiscuity, deceit of any kind, thievery of any kind, jealousy, lust, pride, divisiveness, etc…