Summary: A teaching message on Romans 12:9-21.
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…
My wife hates bugs, especially roaches and spiders. I know that she really abhors bugs and does not just dislike having them in the house. I know she really hate bugs and does not find them just slightly offensive because of how she reacts to them when she sees one. After screaming for me if I’m around, she will take an entire can of bug spray and use it on one bug. She hates bugs and therefore passionately tries her best to be rid of them, even if that means going overboard. Paul is saying that we’re to have the same attitude toward evil in our lives as my wife has toward roaches. There is to be no place or acceptance of it. Do not endure it, ignore it, put up with it, or be lackadaisical about evil in your home, thoughts, entertainment, words, or the attitude of your heart. Do everything you can to be rid of it, even to the point of going overboard.
The second thing on the Christian’s "To Do" list is to hate what is evil. Now let’s go to the third thing on the Christian’s "To Do" list.
3. Cling to what is good.
With the same kind of passion we’re to have toward ridding our lives of evil, we’re also to have in holding on tightly to what is good. Recent news reports have been filled with reports of child abductions. This has caused most parents take extra care in watching their children. They are holding their hands in malls, they are personally watching them as they play in the front yard, they are avoiding public parks, and they are securing their homes with extra locks and alarms systems. They are in effect clinging or holding tightly to their children so that they will not be lost. This in a sense is how Paul is telling Christian’s to act toward those things in our lives which are good. Hold on to them tightly. Do everything you can to insure they stay in your lives.