Summary: A teaching message on Romans 12:9-21.

Romans Series # 50 August 07, 2002

Title: A Christian’s "To Do" List Part 2



Introduction: Welcome to New Life in Christ. We are currently in Chapter 12 of Romans as we continue with message #50 of our verse-by-verse study of the Book of Romans.

Read Romans 12:11-13

Opening Prayer

Last week I shared with you how Romans 12:9-21 is basically a Christian "To Do" list. This is a list of 15 practical things the Christian should be living out in their own lives. Last week I shared on five of the 15 things on the Christian’s "To Do" list.

1. Love others sincerely.

2. Hate what is evil.

3. Cling to what is good.

4. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love.

5. Honor one another above yourselves.

Now let’s continue by looking at the sixth thing on the Christian’s "To Do" list.

6. Serve the Lord with diligence and enthusiasm.

Read Romans 12:11

In this verse Paul gives us a two-fold description of how we should serve the Lord. First he says, "Never be lacking in zeal." Second he says, "Keep your spiritual fervor." The word "zeal" is the same Greek word translated as "diligence" in Romans 12:8. The word means to give earnest effort. If we were using this word to describe an employee, we would be speaking of the employee who always arrives early, leaves late, and does not slack off throughout the day. If we were using this word to describe an athlete we would be speaking of the football player who never takes a play off, the batter who always goes for the home run ball, or the Olympian who will not be satisfied with anything less than a gold medal.

This intensity or earnestness of effort, this diligence is how we’re always to serve the Lord. This means we’re to give 100% whatever ministry we’re engaged in, whether children’s church, the worship team, helping others, serving, hosting a fellowship, intercessory prayer, senior’s ministry, or helping on a workday, etc... To serve the Lord with diligence means giving 100% in ministry, worship, in meditation on the word of God, in our prayer lives and so forth.

6. Serve the Lord with diligence and enthusiasm.

After telling Christian’s to serve the Lord with diligence (zeal), Paul goes on to say, "Keep your spiritual fervor." This refers not so much to what we do (our actions), as it does to our attitude. "Spiritual fervor" is a reference to spiritual enthusiasm. Not only should we give whole hearted efforts in serving the Lord, but we should be excited and enthused about it. The word for "fervor" here is the Greek word for boiling. It was figuratively used to describe a passionate attitude. This is the attitude of enthusiasm we all should have toward the things of the Lord. We should be passionate in our worship, excited about our time in God’s word, and enthused about serving God with our gifts.

6. Serve the Lord with diligence and enthusiasm.

Sometimes we may think that we just cannot maintain that level of diligence and enthusiasm, especially enthusiasm since that is an emotion. After all we have no control over our emotions, or so we think. I beg to differ with that conclusion. I think that we can decide to give 100% to Jesus and to be excited in doing so. If we could not do that, the Bible would not tell is to be spiritual fervent. I believe the Holy Spirit renews our enthusiasm for the things of the Lord when we to decide to be enthusiastic for Jesus and make efforts in that direction. When you think about it, is it really that hard to be excited about worshiping the living God? Is it difficult to be enthused about reading the words of the Creator of everything? Is it hard to be passionate about praying when we understand that we’re praying to a wise, caring, and powerful God? The answer to all these questions "no."

6. Serve the Lord with diligence and enthusiasm.

Before I move on to the seventh thing on the Christian’s "To Do" list, I want to point out that our enthusiasm is not mindless or directionless, but is focused on "serving the Lord." I say this because sometimes people in the church get caught up in emotional hype that has little to do with the Lord. They’re excited and fervent because of the emotional atmosphere of a meeting or because of manipulation by the evangelist, speaker, or worship leader pumping up people like at a high-school pep rally. Now let’s move on to the seventh thing on the Christian’s "To Do" list.

7. Trust in and depend on God, especially in difficult times.

At first glance the main focus of this verse seems to be on joy, patience, and prayer, not trust and dependence on God, but when you understand that Paul is telling Christian’s how to respond in times of "affliction", you can see that he is basically calling for an attitude of trust in and dependence on God. A person cannot be joyful unless they are trusting God for a hopeful future. A person can not be patient in difficult times unless they trust that God is in control and will bring them through as over comers. Paul says to "Be faithful in prayer" because there’s no greater sign of dependence and trust in God than to continue to pray to him in difficult times. With all this in mind, I believe the main message Paul was communicating is that we should trust in depend on God, especially in difficult times. This is the seventh thing on the Christian’s "To Do" list. With that said, let’s take a more in-depth look at what the Bible says in this verse.

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